According to new research, the UK’s oil and gas reserves could expire in 10-years’ time, which would result in a 100% reliance on foreign imports.
Research conducted by the University of Edinburgh shows the UK’s oil and gas reserves could diminish completely in a decade’s time. Academics at the university studied offshore field output and it revealed that only around 10% of the UK’s original recoverable oil and gas is left (oil 11% & gas 9%, respectively).
If these estimates are correct then the nation would be fully dependent on foreign imports to meet its oil and gas demands.
Scientists involved in the research are now putting pressure on the government to grow the renewable energy sector even further to reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels; with offshore wind and advanced solar power specified as viable alternatives.
Professor Roy Thompson from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geo Sciences, who led the study, said: “The UK urgently needs a bold energy transition plan, instead of trusting to dwindling fossil fuel reserves and possible fracking."
“We must act now and drive the necessary shift to a clean economy with integration between energy systems. There needs to be greater emphasis on renewables, energy storage and improved insulation and energy efficiencies.”
Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, said: “There are up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas resources still to be recovered on the UK Continental Shelf, based on production forecasts provided by the Oil and Gas Authority."
“To ensure the remaining potential of the UKCS is realised, we need to keep operating costs low, bring in new investment and maintain a relentless focus on exploration and enhanced recovery.”
The study which was published in The Edinburgh Geologist also considers the United Kingdom’s potential for fracking and analysed hydrocarbon reserves, which show a decline since output peaked in the late 90’s.
Many fracking sites are located in densely populated areas with low-quality rocks and differing geological histories, meaning the potential for a successful industry is limited despite a call for additional investment in the industry.