Oil and Gas Sector

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons at on 12 July 2022.

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Photo of Fay Jones Fay Jones Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

What recent steps his Department has taken to help support the oil and gas sector.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The North sea transition deal sets out how the Government are working in partnership with the offshore oil and gas industry to achieve a managed energy transition that leaves nobody behind.

Photo of Fay Jones Fay Jones Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, but 66% of my constituents live off the gas grid and rely on heating oil deliveries to heat their home—obviously not in these temperatures today—and I am extremely worried about oil deliveries in the winter. Has my right hon. Friend got his eye on these constituents, who comprise a huge part of rural Britain?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Wales is the part of the UK with the highest percentage of those off the gas grid, and I know that her rural part of Wales is therefore likely to be among the areas most affected by the rise in the price of heating oil. We have made sure that those off the gas grid but on the electricity grid will benefit from the £400 energy bill rebate. We have also put £1.1 billion into the home upgrade grant to provide energy efficiency and clean heating upgrades to support lower-income households living off the main gas grid. Obviously, we are continuing to monitor the situation extremely closely, particularly for the most vulnerable, most rural constituents such as my hon. Friend’s.

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

The UK already has the lowest tax take anywhere in the world from an offshore oil and gas regime, so it is perverse that the Government’s new investment allowance will essentially incentivise yet more oil and gas exploration at a time when we know that we absolutely need to leave fossil fuels in the ground. Given that the Secretary of State himself has said that it will take up to a decade to extract sufficient volumes from fracking, will he undertake to speak to his Treasury colleagues and make sure that fracking at the very least is excluded from this perverse investment allowance?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

I must say I find the Green party’s attitude to these issues bizarre: it seems to be resolutely against any oil and gas extraction in this country, which could only mean it would be in favour of imports, and those imports would be higher priced, more volatile, likely to be from more dangerous parts of the world, and come with higher embedded emissions. The embedded emissions of liquified natural gas are about 2.5 times higher than the emissions from the gas we get from the UK continental shelf. The hon. Lady describes herself as a Green party politician, but I find her approach distinctly ungreen compared to that of this Conservative Government.