Grant Shapps to discuss security and economic growth with energy industry leaders

Minister looking to increase investment in renewable energy from oil and gas companies

Grant Shapps said Britain would never again be held to ransom over its energy supply. PA
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Grant Shapps will meet representatives from the UK’s oil and gas industry at Downing Street on Wednesday to discuss economic growth and energy security.

Companies including EDF, SSE, Shell and BP, who collectively have multibillion-pound plans to invest in low and zero-carbon projects will meet the Energy Security Secretary.

Mr Shapps will outline the steps the government has taken to ensure critical energy infrastructure is protected from protests, as well as its decision to invest in home-grown sources, including renewables, nuclear power and backing North Sea oil and gas.

He will mention the Public Order Act, working with the police to ensure protesters cannot gain unauthorised access to sites, and the work of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, whose 1,300 officers and 300 support staff operate to protect nuclear sites across England, Scotland and Wales.

“We need to send the message loud and clear to the likes of Putin that we will never again be held to ransom with energy supply," Mr Shapps said.

"The companies I am meeting in Downing Street will be at the heart of that.

“Energy industry leaders can see that this government will back home-grown, secure energy – whether that’s renewables, our revival in nuclear or our support for our vital oil and gas industry in the North Sea.

“But it is a sad reality that we also need to protect our critical national infrastructure from disruptive protests.

“I’ll be setting out what we are doing to achieve this and want to hear from the energy companies about the vital work they are doing in this area.”

Green energy sources - in pictures

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced hundreds of new oil and gas licences would be granted in the UK and confirmed that North-east Scotland and the Humber had been chosen as locations for two new carbon-capture usage and storage clusters.

According to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Shell UK aims to invest £20-25 billion ($25.5-32 billion) in the UK energy system over the next 10 years, with more than 75 per cent intended for low and zero-carbon products and services.

BP intends to invest up to £18 billion in the UK up to 2030 and SSE has announced plans to invest the same amount until 2027 in low-carbon infrastructure, creating 1,000 new jobs every year until 2025.

National Grid plc will be investing more than £16 billion up to 2026 and EDF has outlined plans to invest £13 billion up to 2025.

BP reported on Tuesday it had made about £2 billion in underlying replacement cost profit in the three months to the end of June.

When asked about the announcement during a visit to Teesside’s Transmission System Gas Terminal on Tuesday, Mr Shapps said: “I think what people want to know is that they [BP] are being properly taxed, and we’ve been taxing them 75 per cent of their profits through this windfall tax, and that we’ve used that money to pay about £1,500 per household to cover people’s energy bills this last winter.

“It may not have felt that way, but [bills] would have been £1,500 on average higher if we hadn’t taxed the energy companies.

“So they have been playing their part. BP is a big global company, those profits will come from all around the world.

“We want to make sure that they’re doing their part but that they have money to carry on investing.

“This week I’m meeting with BP and others in Downing Street to talk about £100 billion of investments by oil and gas companies, for example, into renewable energy, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage," he added.

“So they do have to make money in order to be able to invest that money. But I have made sure, we have made sure as a government, that they have been taxed at a very punitive level.

“And that money has come straight to households and businesses over this last, difficult winter.”

Updated: August 01, 2023, 11:01 PM