Gas will power East Anglia’s economy for decades – industry leaders told

EEEGR's House of Commons reception. From left to right: Eric Marston, Oil & Gas Authority area manag

EEEGR's House of Commons reception. From left to right: Eric Marston, Oil & Gas Authority area manager for the SNS, Jonathan Cole, managing director of Iberdrola Renewables Offshore, Peter Aldous, Waveney MP, Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth MP, Simon Gray, chief executive of the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR), Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister of state for energy and intellectual property, and Paul Spence, director of strategy and corporate affairs at EDF. - Credit: TMS Media

A 'considerable prize remains at stake', energy industry leaders were told at a House of Commons reception.

A special interest group (SIG) aimed at making sure North Sea platforms are not decommissioned prematurely was announced at the East of England Energy Group's (EEEGR) House of Commons reception, as the sector was told there is 20 years of gas production left in the southern North Sea (SNS).

The group will try to ensure infrastructure is in place to access deep-lying gas fields – which are not financially viable currently – for extraction once the market changes.

Eric Marston, Oil and Gas Authority southern North Sea manager, said a 'considerable prize remains at stake'. He said: 'The SNS continues to be a key contributor to the UK's energy needs. I would expect production to keep going for at least another 20 years, at least until 2035 so I would hold on to that thought.'

He added: 'What is left in the SNS are small pools and gas trapped in poor quality rock and tight gas.

'These resources are increasingly expensive and commercially risky to develop and complex to develop. We need to work on how to harness that potential in the commercial landscape and the technical solutions to this.'

He said it was estimated another 3.7 trillion cubic feet of gas remains from current assets with potentially another 5tcf from further drilling in current fields and discovered undeveloped new fields.

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EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray said the group would also look at ways for the different branches of the sector – oil and gas and renewables – to work together to reduce costs.

He said: 'What makes our region unique is that we are able to work across oil and gas, renewables and nuclear.'

He added the event was a chance to remind people that the East of England is 'ultimately responsible for keeping most of the country warm and lit'. The evening was attended by energy minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe.

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