UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) claimed a couple of weeks ago, that it had found the equivalent of 50 – 100bn barrels of oil close to Gatwick airport.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, as only 5% – 15% is currently recoverable. Nevertheless, it is still a significant find. To put this into context, this is still a sizeable amount when we consider the dwindling production of the North Sea oil industry. Which has produced only 45bn barrels in the last 40 years. At the current price of $57.19 per barrel this could have a huge impact on the UK economy and energy prices.
There is already significant opposition to the proposal, and quite rightly so. Although UKOG have claimed they can extract the oil without resorting to the controversial method of fracking; where water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure. For some the idea of relying on fossil fuels in the future, just isn’t good enough.
Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK said:
Dotting the English countryside with drilling rigs and pipelines to squeeze the last drop of oil out of Britain doesn’t make any sense.
To gleefully rub your hands at a new fossil fuel discovery you need to turn the clock back to the 19th century and ignore everything we have learned about climate change since. We already have more than enough coal, oil, and gas reserves to fry the planet.
In this week’s address, Obama spoke about the commitment required to combatting the threat of climate change in order to keep future generations safe.
However, there are those who disagree and believe finds like this will play a huge part in the recovery of the UK economy. In their opinion, there is no need to move away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy.
Ken Cronin chief executive of the oil industry said:
We have been drilling for oil and gas onshore in the UK for over 100 years. There are a number of sites in the south of England that have been producing oil for many years with great care for the environment and with no impact on local communities.
One thing is certain, though. The scientific consensus on climate change has never been greater. More and more scientists believe the only way to avert catastrophe is to significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and leave large oil reserves (like this one) in the ground.
It is our generation who will inevitably have to endure the consequences of the decisions made by the politicians and chief executives of today.
Whether their interests are to make a quick buck, or to create jobs and drive down energy prices in the short term, these are consequences our generation will have to live by in the long run.