Oil & Gas

North Sea firm hits back after Miliband says Labour will oppose offshore drilling

A North Sea oil and gas company has taken aim at the shadow climate and net zero secretary after he reinforced Labour’s opposition to new drilling.

In a series of Tweets, Orcadian Energy (LON: ORCA) said that if Ed Miliband “really did care about total global emissions” he would back the UK’s offshore industry.

The company, headed up by chief executive Steve Brown, also accused the former Labour leader of simply trying to “virtue signal about how green he is”.

Mr Miliband told Sky News on Monday that Labour opposes fresh North Sea exploration licencing, citing global prices and the time it takes for developments to get up and running.

He said: “The truth is that wherever we get our gas from, we pay the same price because the price is set on the European market. So this will make no difference to bills.

“Secondly, it will take years to come onstream. It is not cheap and it is not quick either.

“Thirdly, it drives the coach and horses through all the commitments we’re making on climate change. If all the countries followed our lead, we would end up with 3 degrees or more of global warming. Precisely the danger that we are seeking to avoid.”

Mr Miliband added that the “way to cut bills” and ensure energy security is through “onshore wind, offshore wind, and solar”.

It is an argument that has been pedalled by many senior politicians, particularly following the announcement of a new exploration licensing round.

Those within the oil and gas industry frequently highlight that production from the UK North Sea has among the lowest environmental footprints in the world.

They have also claimed that boosting domestic flows is needed to replace imports from Russia following Putin’s attack on Ukraine.

Orcadian stated: “I’d like to explain to Ed Miliband how developing new oil and gas fields in the UKCS, where we can produce oil with much reduced emissions actually reduces global emissions.

© Orcadian Energy
Steve Brown is CEO of Orcadian Energy. London.

“Oil fields decline and emissions intensity rises inexorably. To minimise emissions we need new fields.

“The first question I would ask Ed Miliband is whether he wants to reduce global emissions or just virtue signal about how green he is. I’d want an honest answer from him, but if he really did care about total global emissions he should be backing the UK’s oil and gas companies.

“Or shall we just get all the oil we need from Venezuela? Outsourcing and multiplying emissions sounds like a great strategy.”

Orcadian is behind the 80 million barrel Pilot project and is currently on the lookout for partners to help progress the scheme.

It was previously thought the field would cost roughly $1bn, but investment incentives included as part of the windfall tax could cut that down by 75%.

Pilot will be integrated with renewables in order to keep emissions to a minimum.

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