The North Sea has been helping to provide light and warmth for UK homes and industry for more than 50 years and will continue to be an essential resource for supporting UK energy security for many years to come. 

While it is crucial the economy transitions away from fossil fuels, oil and gas currently meet approximately three quarters of UK energy requirements and all forecasts point to them continuing to play a role for the foreseeable future, including under net zero.  

UK demand for oil and gas exceeds production from the UK Continental Shelf and we will continue to be a net importer of both out to 2050. This remains the case even when factoring in potential new field developments. 

Managing the declining domestic production and maximising value from the UKCS as cleanly and efficiently as possible supports UK energy security and has broader economic and fiscal benefits compared to importing more of our energy. 

The NSTA has a key role in ensuring the UK is making the most of its remaining resources: 

  • We license the exploration and development of the UK’s offshore and onshore oil and gas resources and gas storage (including hydrogen) activities.  
  • We influence industry and encourage a culture of collaboration and promote investment in the UKCS. 
  • We engage with operators and use regulatory tools to reduce emissions from production.  
  • Through effective asset stewardship we aim to optimise efficiency and ensure economic recovery and support the drive to net zero by 2050. 

Energy security

For more information on energy security, including the licensing/consenting of exploration and production activities, go to the regulatory information section

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