By Sachin Ravikumar
LONDON (Reuters) – Gas production in the United Kingdom rose 26% in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, an industry body said on Wednesday, as Britain cuts Russian energy imports in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 3.5 billion cubic metres increase in locally-produced gas is enough to heat almost 3.5 million UK homes for a year, Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), an industry body for offshore oil, gas, hydrogen and wind producers, said in a statement.
The figures mean roughly half of the country’s gas needs in recent months were met by domestic resources, it said. Gas contributed to 44% of the UK’s electricity generation last month, while also heating 85% of homes.
“If we are to continue our efforts to protect UK gas supplies, which remains the backbone of our energy mix for electricity, heating and industrial processes, we need politicians of all parties to support energy produced here in the UK,” OEUK Sustainability Director Mike Tholen said.
The increases were driven by the start-up of new gas fields in the southern North Sea, including Harbour Energy’s Tolmount field and IOG’s Saturn Banks project, OEUK said.
The British government is looking to boost domestic energy production and reduce reliance on imports, including from Russia. Data on Wednesday showed Britain imported no fuel from Russia for the first time ever in June. [L8N30021Q]
British wholesale gas prices have hit record highs this year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, increasing pressure on household budgets as bills soar.
Liz Truss, the frontrunner to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, has said she would work with energy companies to boost supply to help bring down prices.
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)