Ministers pressure North Sea oil and gas companies to invest profits

North Sea oil and gas companies must come up with a clear plan to reinvest profits to accelerate domestic production, ministers demanded as they faced pressure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng wrote to the industry saying it is also expected to set out plans for clean energy investments during a meeting in the coming weeks.

Rising energy bills is one of the main problems the government is struggling to alleviate, but ministers are not getting new funds to ease the pain.

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Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (Jeff Overs/BBC)

Kwarteng told the industry that investing in domestic energy production is essential for the UK economy to grow and “crucially reduce long-term consumer bills”.

“In exchange for the UK government’s continued support of the sector, the Prime Minister, Chancellor and I want to see a very clear plan from the oil and gas industry to reinvest profits in the North Sea and, more importantly, in technologies of clean energy. of the future,” he wrote.

“At our next meeting in the coming weeks, I would like you to establish how you will reinvest earnings, double investments in the clean energy transition, and accelerate and maximize domestic oil and gas production.”

Labor said the government was “shaken” with oil and gas producers reaping “growing profits” as bills soared.

Climate Change Shadow Secretary Ed Miliband said: “Kwasi Kwarteng’s letter is not worth the paper it is written on to millions of families facing the cost of living crisis.

“Families want action to deal with the crisis of accounts, not an empty and offensive political piece.

“The only way to really make a difference is to do the right, fair and principled thing and impose a one-time tax on oil and gas producers’ profits to provide real help to families now and implement a green energy sprint across the world. next years”.

Ministers have resisted imposing the unexpected tax, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak opened the door to change earlier this week.

“If we don’t see this kind of investment coming in and if companies don’t make these investments in our country and in our energy security, then of course this is something I would look at,” he said.

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