Policy & Regulation

15 Dec 2020

The UK Ends Support For Overseas Oil & Gas Projects

15 Dec 2020  by Tsvetana Paraskova   

The United Kingdom will end direct government support to oil, gas, and coal project overseas as soon as possible, as part of the country’s ambition to support the energy transition, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said over the weekend.

Ending taxpayer support for overseas fossil fuel projects is a major shift in policy, considering that the UK government has supported US$28 billion (£21 billion) worth of UK oil and gas exports through trade promotion and export finance over the past four years alone.

The decision to end direct government support to fossil fuels overseas “will expedite the shift to supporting green technology and renewable energy, creating jobs across the UK and driving international growth in the industry,” the UK government said in a statement.

The policy, which will be implemented after a short period of consultation, is expected to come into force as soon as possible, and before the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November next year.

The UK government will also work with the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry to reach a North Sea Transition Deal, which the oil and gas industry associations have wanted since the oil price crash earlier this year.

Such a deal would ensure that areas like Teesside and Aberdeen—major oil and gas industry centers—can become global hubs for wind energy, carbon capture, and other clean technologies of the future, the UK government said.

Earlier this month, the UK committed to an ambitious goal to cut emissions by at least 68 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels—the fastest rate of any major economy.

The UK is one of the economies that has pledged many green initiatives for recovery after this year’s crisis, including by prioritizing offshore wind, electric vehicles, carbon capture, and hydrogen.

The UK will aim to become a global leader in offshore wind energy, powering every home in the country with wind by 2030, Johnson said in October, while on the following month, the UK said it would ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars from 2030, ten years earlier than initially planned.

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