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SUMMARY

Annual UK oil and gas spends could fall to £4bn this year.

By Callum Cyrus

UK national gas imports could reach almost 80% of total supply before 2030 unless the country can revive investor appetite for new supply projects, Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) said on March 29.

The disclosure is part of the trade body's first edition of its Business Outlook report, with the full details expected later today. Leading Scottish broadcaster STV had an in-depth preview of the figures, notably citing projections for a 15% annual fall in UK North Sea output without new investment in oil and gas infrastructure.

Norwegian gas already led the UK's domestic output in the energy mix last year. The UK is still forecast to source 65% of its energy needs from oil and gas until 2037 and around 50% to 2050 despite the government's transition objectives.

The UK currently expects 10 oil and gas fields to come online in 2022 and early 2023. Fitch Solutions says UK gas production will rise 9% in 2022 as this capacity begins to arrive on stream, having remained static at 0% change in 2021.

OEUK's Ross Dornan told STV he believed the complex regulatory and political landscape deterred investors. The investment climate could reduce annual UK oil and gas spends to £4bn ($5.2bn) this year, down from £5.5bn in 2019 and a quarter of the £16bn invested in 2014.

Dornan said: "Now we see gas imports from Norway into the UK are higher than the amount of gas actually produced here in the UK. It’s another milestone in the maturity of the basin.

“What it means though is our largest gas source is not controlled by the UK and we are as reliant on the performance of Norwegian infrastructure and fields as we are on our own fields. We need to unlock new investment in our gas resources to try and tip that balance again.”

"We need to unlock new investment in our gas resources to try and tip that balance again."