The Conservatives have been detailing their policy proposals for the energy sector, after securing an overall majority at the General Election on 7 May. Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed new energy ministers and promised legislation that will bolster the UK’s energy security.
The Conservatives’ election manifesto had said: “Without secure energy supplies, we leave British families and busiess at the mercy of fluctuating global oil and gas prices; we increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy; and we become less safe and less prosperous as a result.”
These concerns were reflected in the legislation proposed by the government in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May. The speech confirmed that a new bill would be introduced during the year that would seek to ‘ensure there will be affordable and reliable energy for businesses and families’.
In particular, the new bill will establish the new Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) as an independent regulator of the North Sea industry. The creation of the OGA had been among the key recommendations of the Wood Review, with reported to the coalition government in January 2014 on steps for maximizing economic recovery from the North Sea. The bill will transfer the energy and climate change secretary’s existing regulatory powers in relation to the North Sea to the OGA.
The Conservatives have also stressed their continued commitment to exploiting the UK’s shale gas resources. They believe that shale is crucial in ensuring the UK’s low-carbon transition is undertaken as cost-effectively as possible.