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Norwegian gas strike shows the danger of the UK’s dithering on domestic drilling, says IEA energy analyst

Andy Mayer, energy analyst at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs comments on the strike action by Norwegian offshore workers

“Today’s strike by Norwegian oil & gas workers in the North Sea, and the consequent surge in European gas prices, reminds us of the danger of the UK government’s dithering on fracking and imposition of a windfall tax.

“The EU is dependent on Russia for around 40 per cent of it’s gas imports, with Norway responsible for a further 20-25 per cent. Both countries are throttling supply which will endanger efforts to build reserves for the winter and provoke an even more extreme crisis than the one expected.

“The UK, while not dependent on Russia, is highly exposed to Norwegian supply. They provide us with about 40 per cent of our gas supply, and we have no serious reserves to offset disruption from short strikes.  

“Longer disruption from a protracted dispute will force the government to pay British industry to shut down, and presents a significant risk to domestic heating supplies this winter.

“Instead of encouraging domestic production as a hedge against these extreme but predictable risks, the UK is still dithering on lifting the ban on fracking, tinkering with expensive new climate regulations on the North Sea, and discouraging investment with a windfall tax.

“This behaviour is extremely dangerous. By prioritising net zero virtue signalling, the government risks imminent dangers to our domestic security, health, and prosperity today.”

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