Oil and gas are vital for our everyday lives. Oil meets 97 per cent of the UK transport sector demand and gas is both the dominant fuel in this country for heating and a key fuel for electricity generation. They also benefit our lives in being vital to the production of many everyday essentials – from medicines and plastics to cosmetics and household appliances.


Delivering secure supplies

  • Oil and gas provides more than 75 per cent of the UK’s total primary energy.
  • The UK Continental Shelf provides more than half of the UK’s oil and gas demand.
  • UK production peaked in 1999, steadied at 1.42 million barrels of oil and gas in 2014 and increased by almost 16 per cent over the next two years to 1.73 million barrels of oil and gas.
  • Oil and gas will still provide two-thirds of total primary by 2035 according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and therefore needs to be vital component of an energy policy that considers affordability, security of supply and environmental sustainability.
  • It is estimated that there could be up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas still to recover from the UK’s offshore areas.

Gas and carbon reduction

  • Electricity generation, transport and heating each account for roughly one third of the UK’s primary energy demand, with oil for transport and gas for heating dominating these markets.
  • Natural gas is the cleanest of all fossil fuels, burning nearly twice as efficiently as coal and producing much less CO2 per unit of energy generated.
  • The Energy Information Agency calculates that natural gas produces 117 lbs of CO2 per million British thermal units (BTU); petrol produces 157 lbs of CO2 per m BTU; and coal between 206 lbs and 229 lbs.
  • Maximising economic recovery from the UK Continental Shelf (MER UK) is therefore compatible with UK decarbonisation.
  • Switching from coal to generate more electricity from gas would achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions without compromising security of energy supply.

Find out more in the Economic Report