Starmer claims that a fund of £2.5bn dedicated to creating renewable energy jobs will provide assistance to North Sea oil employees.
Keir Starmer has issued a challenge to the oil industry to accelerate its transition to clean energy by providing up to £2.5bn in subsidies for North Sea employees to work in renewable energy jobs.
The leader of the Labour Party has informed executives from companies like Shell and BP that the UK is in a global competition to transition away from reliance on oil and gas. This is due to other countries, like the US, investing significant amounts of money into environmentally-friendly technologies.
Starmer and Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary, hosted a roundtable with executives from 20 energy firms in Aberdeen on Thursday during a two-day visit to promote the party’s plans to decarbonise UK energy supplies by 2030 – a target date the oil industry is vigorously resisting.
On Friday, Starmer will declare that in the event of a Labour victory in the upcoming election, they will establish a £2.5bn fund known as the “British jobs bonus.” This fund will focus on investing in three clean energy technologies, specifically in regions that heavily rely on North Sea oil, such as Aberdeen and the north-east of England.
One possible rewording could be: Utilizing carbon capture technology to assist industries that rely on oil and gas for waste CO2 disposal.2
Transforming exhausted oil reserves in the North Sea; Constructing offshore wind turbines for deep sea locations; and Developing green hydrogen – a no-emission fuel necessary for high-energy sectors like steel manufacturing, railways, and chemical manufacturing.
Starmer contends that Rishi Sunak’s recent choice to fully exploit the North Sea’s oil and gas resources while disregarding investment in green energy and technology is a misguided strategy motivated by the belief that it will garner more electoral support for the Conservatives in the short-term, specifically in north-east Scotland.
The leader of the Labour party stated that the Conservative party lacks ambition, a plan, and concern for the millions of British families who are facing expensive energy bills due to the government’s failure.
“By engaging in political maneuvering, they are creating instability and jeopardizing investments in the sector. This is resulting in job losses and financial burden for individuals. In contrast, my Labour government will prioritize the country’s interests over our party’s goals, and work towards securing a sustainable future for the energy industry.”
Offshore Energy UK (OEUK), a lobbying group in the oil industry, has expressed its dedication to transitioning towards net zero in the long term. However, they have also welcomed Sunak’s choice to grant a license for extraction in the Rosebank oil and gas field, which is the largest untapped field in the North Sea.
The OEUK organization is urging the government to provide funding for an additional £100 billion in new investments in the North Sea. This is to replace the estimated 180 oil fields that are expected to cease production within the next ten years. Climate experts argue that this action will undermine global initiatives to curb the escalating effects of climate change.
Starmer reportedly stated during the roundtable discussion that although oil and gas will continue to be a part of the UK’s energy supply, collaboration between the industry, unions, and government is necessary to transition to zero-carbon technologies in a timely manner.
The Labour party has made a commitment to provide a £2.5 billion jobs subsidy and additional funding to help “historical energy communities” in the UK, such as Grangemouth, a large oil and petrochemical facility located on the Firth of Forth. They also intend to invest in the improvement of major ports throughout the country, believing it to be a smarter strategic investment compared to the freeports that Chancellor Sunak has promised to establish.
Starmer’s interaction with oil company leaders poses potential political consequences, but it also acknowledges the importance of convincing the industry to support the goal of achieving the UK’s net zero targets quickly. This is crucial not only for the upcoming election, but also for fulfilling Labour’s promises outlined in their manifesto.
Sunak has expressed his intention to portray Labour’s tactics as an “attack on drivers” and will blame Starmer for causing the loss of important jobs in the North Sea. Labour is counting on voters, union representatives, and oil workers to understand the importance of the climate issue, and believes that Starmer’s plan will give them an advantage over the Scottish National Party in the upcoming election.
Floating offshore windfarms will provide much cheaper clean electricity but there are substantial reservations about how significant a role carbon capture and mass-produced hydrogen can play in the clean energy transition.