Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and energy security secretary Grant Shapps will meet industry leaders from the oil and gas, renewables and nuclear sectors over the coming days, with the government set to make further commitments to bolster the country’s energy security.
City A.M. understands this is likely to include major announcements in the oil and gas sector as soon as tomorrow, with potential fresh funds being provided for ‘Acorn’ which is a new carbon capture project in Scotland overseen by Shell, Harbour and Storegga.
Downing Street is also expected to unveil plans to boost jobs and stimulate growth in the energy sector, although specific details for this remain unclear.
There could also be recommendations for potential reforms to the country’s energy grid later in the week with the publication of a new review, which could potentially pave the way for boosting offshore wind generation.
This potential new energy security week follows the so-called ‘Green Day’ announcements in April, which were widely seen as underwhelming across the industry.
New measures from Downing Street are geared towards ramping up domestic energy generation to slash the UK’s reliance on overseas supplies, with wholesale markets still volatile following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
The government has trailed the expected announcements with a new press release revealing commitments such as “backing our oil and gas industry, investing in the latest clean technologies and isolating Putin’s regime from global energy markets”.
Shapps said: “Energy security is national security. Since Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine the government has driven Russia from our energy market, paid around half of a typical family’s energy bill and grown our economy by driving forward major energy projects.
“This week we will go even further. Forging ahead with critical measures to power up Britain from Britain – including supporting our invaluable oil and gas industry, making the most of our home-grown energy sources and backing British innovation in renewables.”
The Acorn carbon capture project was shortlisted for future approval in the government-led track 2 process in April earlier this year, alongside the Viking CCS project in the Southern Humber region.
The development would enable greenhouse gas emissions to be piped under the North Sea to be stored in caverns, offsetting fossil fuel production.
The government is targeting 20-30Mt of carbon captured and stored per year by the end of the decade, and has already earmarked £20bn of funding for upcoming projects. Eight projects have already been shortlisted for funds in its track 1 programme, including three being overseen by BP.
It is unclear if any announcements will be made on Rosebank, the UK’s largest undeveloped oil and gas field in British waters, or concerning the 33rd licensing round for new projects – as both are overseen by regulatory bodies rather than Downing Street.
Rosebank still awaits approval from both the North Sea Transition Authority and the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED), with Shapps not expected to intervene in the process.
City A.M. first revealed the process was set to drift into parliamentary recess earlier this month.