OEUK: Labour’s sentiments must “match up” with drilling plans

June 06, 2023

The UK offshore energy industry has repeated its call for the Labour party to meet and listen to the industry following Sir Keir Starmer’s speech to the GMB congress 2023 in Brighton this morning.

During his speech, Sir Keir Starmer said, “change is coming, and it can unsettle us”, pledging jobs and growth for the sector and its people as it continues is expansion into wind, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. He committed to working with unions and industry on his party’s plans.

It comes as Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said the sector needs “plans not bans” and warned that the UK still imports too much of its energy.

OEUK Chief Executive David Whitehouse said, “It’s good and welcome that Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour party have reiterated commitments to work with the industry. We want to meet with him because we now need Labour’s sentiment to match up with the substance of their plans.

“Today, the UK meets over half of its oil and gas needs with oil and gas imported from across the world. Without new projects and investment, this will increase to 80% in this decade.

“The 200,000 people working in this industry have heard Labour’s proposals and have questions about how they would work in reality.

“They want to know if Labour will allow the continued decline of domestic oil and gas production and the increase of imported oil and gas to meet the country’s needs. They want to know if when they say no new oil, they mean no new British oil.

"These are the questions we are very keen to discuss with Labour, and at the heart of our request is how we can work together to sustain the activity and jobs in the offshore energy industry.

“We are a modern diverse industry spread across the UK, which has embraced and been at the forefront of change for decades. We are not standing still. Our industry includes those that are expanding into renewables, while the homegrown expertise of our people is driving ever cleaner energy production. We are committed to a sustainable future.

“As we build that future there is no simple choice between oil and gas on the one hand and renewables on the other. The reality is that to keep the lights on and grow our economy, we need both.

“By investing in homegrown production, we avoid costlier, less secure and higher carbon footprint imports while supporting the infrastructure we need to make cleaner, more affordable energy in the UK, for the UK.”

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