The UK government is aiming to remove barriers to investment in energy infrastructure as it unveiled its first report on energy investment in the country.
The government “plans to remove unnecessary barriers to investment in infrastructure by amending the rules that prevent the same companies investing and exercising rights in both generation and transmission networks at the same time”, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) said.
The report, released on Thursday by Energy Secretary Ed Davey, said that energy projects account for around 60% of the UK’s total infrastructure project pipeline of more than £200 billion ($342 billion).
Some 450,000 people are said to be employed either directly or indirectly by the country’s oil and gas industry, with 35,000 employed directly in the exploration and production sphere.
Although much of the report was concerned with investments in renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, and the downstream sector, DECC highlighted the importance of the upstream sector in the economy.
Davey said the slowly-developing shale gas and shale oil industry could attract £33 billion in investment between 2016 and 2032 – or £3.7 billion a year – and support 60,000 jobs.
Industry lobby group Oil & Gas UK welcomed Thursday’s report, chief executive Malcolm Webb saying: “As the biggest investor in the UK’s energy security, now and throughout the last three decades, the offshore oil and gas industry welcomes government’s acknowledgement of the essential role oil and gas play in our country’s energy mix."
The UK government said earlier this week that it was to make a £15 million one-off investment over five years to help kick-start the country's new industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority.