LNG Emissions: Impact of Oil and Gas Licences

Energy Security and Net Zero – in the House of Commons at on 16 April 2024.

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Photo of Tom Hunt Tom Hunt Conservative, Ipswich

What assessment she has made of the potential impact of the number of oil and gas licences issued by her Department on the level of carbon emissions from imported liquefied natural gas.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

North Sea Transition Authority analysis shows that producing natural gas domestically is almost four times cleaner than importing liquefied natural gas from abroad. Without continued licensing, our dependence on imported oil and gas, including LNG, will only increase more quickly in the future.

Photo of Tom Hunt Tom Hunt Conservative, Ipswich

I have always been a fan of us fully exploiting our natural resources. We have got to take a pragmatic route to cutting our carbon emissions, but at the forefront of our thinking must also be driving down energy costs, boosting energy security and not doing anything that enfeebles our country on the global stage. Does the Minister agree that this is the right approach in terms of energy costs and that not importing as much liquefied natural gas will also make our carbon footprint smaller?

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

I completely agree with my hon. Friend’s analysis. Utilising our own domestic resources is just common sense when the alternative is to import more fuels from abroad. It would be an act of self-sabotage to put restrictions on our own domestic sector, damaging jobs and investment only to liquefy and ship gas from halfway around the world and create more emissions in the process.

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

I welcome the Minister to his post, but he will know that most of our gas imports are not LNG and that they actually come via a pipeline from Norway, where gas production is half as polluting as it is in the UK. New oil and gas would not only be disastrous for our climate; it would also fail to boost energy security. Following the welcome announcement that the UK will finally withdraw from the energy charter treaty, will the Government also reverse their decision to license the Rosebank oil field, which will cost the climate and the public purse extremely dear?

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

I thank the hon. Member for her kind comments. While we scale up our clean energy success, including in renewables, which have gone from 7% to 40%, there is still a need for oil and gas. A failure to issue a new licence would make no difference to the consumption of oil and gas, but it would increase imports, which typically have higher emissions, and also damage our economy.