The UK must work closely with Norway if we are to meet the twin challenges of ensuring our energy supply is both secure and clean, Malcolm Wicks, Minister for Energy said today.
Speaking in advance of the Offshore Northern Seas Conference Malcolm Wicks said that the UK, like Norway, needed to work hard to extend the life of North Sea reserves. 'Like much of the industrialised world we face huge challenges in terms of the security of our energy supplies. We know the global demand for energy will continue to increase, driven by the growing economies of China and India. Recent events in the Middle East and in Prudhoe Bay serve to remind us of how an environment of uncertainty in the global oil market creates further upward pressure on price,' he said.'It is increasingly important that we do as much as possible to maintain production and extend the potential and life of our own reserves. Our recent Energy Review recognises this and through the 'stewardship initiative' we are identifying whether field owners are fully recognising and maximising opportunities for production. Research has already indicated that an additional 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent could be recovered if all mature fields received the investment that would allow them to reach their full potential. 'We are also building on things that have already worked well and I am pleased today to announce that we are expanding the existing mentoring scheme where both small and large UK and Norwegian oil and gas companies learn from each other about different experiences and business cultures. To date 16 different companies have taken part and the extension of the scheme recognises that as the global oil and gas market place changes, partnerships and alliances will become increasingly important.' At the same time as the UK is entering a new era for energy supplies - becoming increasingly dependent on imports to meet demand - our partnership with Norway is critical to getting the energy we need to keep us warm this winter and going forward in the future. Earlier this month NCE reported that current projects to increase gas imports into the UK are running behind schedule (NCE 3 August)