Former BP bigwig Lord Brown calls for halt to new North Sea oil and gas licences

Former BP boss Lord Brown has called for a halt to new North Sea oil and gas drilling licences.

Brown, who ran BP from 1995 to 2007, made the comments in the FT, in which he said the move would help the country get to net zero. His comments appear to back Labour’s energy policy, which has pledged to end new oil and gas drilling.

Lord Brown said the UK was likely to need oil and gas “for many years to come” and should not stop existing North Sea fossil fuel projects, adding: “but beyond this, we should call a halt.”

“Such a move will reinforce our intention to get to net zero and show timely leadership,” he continued.


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“It is also hard to believe that finding and developing the very limited oil and gas resources that remain will be economic – or cost less – than buying supplies from the world market if needed.”

Brown also said a key test for the UK’s political parties before next month’s general election was whether they have “serious plans for the country’s green energy transition”.

His comments have been viewed as backing Labour and a knock to the Conservatives plan to expand oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

In February, this year,  it was revealed Shell and BP were among 17 companies awarded 24 licences in the second share of the 33rd oil and gas licensing round.

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