Page last updated at 18:49 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Call to extract the UK's remaining gas supplies

Gas rings
There could be 1.5 trillion cubic metres of gas yet to be recovered

The offshore energy industry has warned that pressure on gas supplies has shown that more should be done to extract the UK's remaining supplies.

Oil and Gas UK, the trade body, said that improved storage facilities should be a priority.

They also warned against downplaying the remaining potential of gas supplies in British waters.

Energy policy manager David Odling said there could be 1.5 trillion cubic metres of gas yet to be recovered.

He said this could make a significant difference to the country's energy security for the next ten years and beyond.

The industry is seeking improved incentives through the tax regime to encourage companies into extracting more from older oil and gas fields.

We make full use of our own resources; frankly, our experience over the last few days clearly demonstrates that the country cannot afford to do otherwise
David Odling
Energy policy manager

It secured some of what it wanted in the Pre-Budget Report.

It is thought that a fifth of Britain's gas resource lies under waters to the west of Shetland, which are more difficult to reach than the North Sea, and would cost an estimated £2bn to bring on stream.

Mr Odling said: "The ability of the UK gas market to respond to the recent cold snap and meet demand illustrates the importance of diversity in our gas supplies, which are in fact the most diverse in EU.

"While additional storage capacity would play an important role in alleviating any tightness in the gas market during periods of high demand, it must not be forgotten that gas from under the seabed surrounding our own coastline should be our first line of defence.

He added: "In terms of securing our energy supplies and maximising tax revenues and energy-related employment in the UK, it would be a big mistake to leave our own gas resources beneath the seabed.

"The Government must now work with the industry to rebalance the tax regime to ensure we make full use of our own resources.

"Frankly, our experience over the last few days clearly demonstrates that the country cannot afford to do otherwise."



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