No end to oil

By Ian Dunt

Britain will continue to be dependent on gas, oil and gas well into the future, an independent review of international energy security has found.

In a report commissioned by Gordon Brown, Malcolm Wicks, special representative on international energy issues, found the world would still be reliant on gas, oil and coal for two-thirds of its energy needs by 2030.

“As the world comes out of global recession, the global grab for energy will return to something like its pre-recession trajectory, with demand forecast to increase substantially by 2030,” Mr Wicks said.

“Oil and gas prices can be expected to increase, perhaps very significantly.”

The depressing findings come despite international attempts to set up tough new restrictions on emissions.

Energy independence, Mr Wicks found, was not achievable.

“In recent years Britain was self-sufficient; today we are net importers of over 25 per cent of our annual demand; and by 2020 this proportion will be considerably higher,” he said.

“Estimates of import dependence by 2020 range from 45 per cent to much higher, 70 per cent or more.”

In terms of the UK’s bilateral relationships, the report recommends that Norway, Qatar and Saudi Arabia be prioritised as the most significant relationships for our energy security.

The review also suggests nuclear power generation could help ease resource use as demand for electricity grows – particularly after the electrification of transport and heating.

Mr Wicks is MP for Croydon North. Between 2005-6 and 2007-8 he was energy minister, before becoming a special representative.