YP Seminar Review: The UK’s Energy Crisis
Review by Alexandra Inchenko, BP
We were reminded that the oil industry saved the whales and fuelled the industrial revolution as Professor Jon Gluyas set the scene for an evening on the UK’s energy crisis. Energy is often described as a ‘trilemma’ between sustainability, security and equity and Jon’s talk addressed each of these. The UK had its glory days in the 80’s and 90’s when it was self-sufficient in oil, gas and coal but in the early 2000’s we switched from a net exporter to a net importer with slowing production from the North Sea and the closure of coal mines; and this gap is rapidly widening. Electricity production may have become greener with the switch from coal to gas and the closure of the coal industry ‘accidentally’ cleaned the air (and significantly reduced UK seismicity) but recent years have seen the death of costly green energy policies.
Jon highlighted how serious concerns about UK energy security are; with three occasions since 2010 when our gas supply has barely met demand. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, household spend on energy as a proportion of income has been decreasing since the 1960’s and the UK has an enormous resource base; we just need some innovative ways of exploiting it. He suggested we should ensure we get the last drops out of our oil fields whilst capturing carbon through EOR with anthropogenic CO2 and find a way to harness all that ‘hot air’ in London.
Jon’s talk was enlightening and engaging but the evening really came to life during the questions, with lively conversations on fracking, CCS, Lord Browne’s zero carbon initiative and how we’re going to meet the COP21 agreement.
Thanks to Jon on behalf of all the attendees for a fascinating evening and many thanks to Schlumberger for hosting this event.