Gas and oil terminalImage source, Getty Images
Image caption, Sullom Voe Terminal in the Shetland Islands handles production from oilfields in the North Sea

Companies can apply for a license to explore for oil and gas in the North Sea.

As many as 100 licences are expected to be awarded for exploration blocks.

Energy security and skilled jobs will be supported by the new exploration.

The decision is at odds with the opinions of international climate scientists.

If there is to be any chance of keeping global temperature rises under 1.5C, there can't be any new fossil fuel projects.

New exploration is compatible with the government's commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, according to supporters. Fossil fuel from the North Sea will replace imported fuel in production and transportation.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg at the Conservative Party annual conferenceImage source, PA Media
Image caption, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he would like "every last drop" of oil to be extracted from the North Sea

"Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine means it is now more important than ever that we make the most of our energy resources," said Mr. Rees-Mogg.

The licensing process will be fast-tracked in parts of the North Sea that are close to existing infrastructure. The average time between discovery and first production is less than five years.

The oil industry and the campaign agree that the reserves won't have a big impact on the prices consumers pay for energy.

The energy policy of the government benefits fossil fuel companies, according to Philip Evans.

New oil and gas licences won't lower energy bills for struggling families this winter or any winter soon, nor will they provide energy security in the long term.

The UK has imported oil and gas from other countries since the production of oil and gas in the North Sea peaked two decades ago.

There could be as much as 15 billion barrels of oil in the North Sea. According to the statement, new fields will be less polluted than their predecessors.

Following the publication of the government's Climate Compatibility Checkpoint, the decision was made to launch a licensing round.

Emissions from oil and gas production are covered by the checkpoint criteria, but carbon dioxide is not taken into account when the oil and gas are burned.

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  • North Sea oil and gas
  • Climate change
  • Carbon neutrality