Amber Rudd new Energy Minister

Amber Rudd’s appointment as successor to Ed Davey at the Department of Energy and Climate Change would appear to signal some continuity of approach on energy policy. The fact that she has been in the department for a year already is positive because it means there will be no long ‘settling in’ time.

Ms Rudd will have to deal with some potentially difficult areas which include representing Britain at the UN climate change talks in Paris in December, where countries will be expecting to set out binding deals on limiting emissions and restricting global warming – it is public knowledge that as under-secretary she supported limiting global warming to no more than 2°C. Back home Ms Rudd will also have to deal with a potential shortfall in spare energy capacity in Britain.

From the oil & gas industry’s point of view she has voiced her support for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the UK, even in controversial areas like National Parks, saying that it would not be “practical” and would “unduly constrain” fracking firms to restrict them to certain areas.

This is not an easy time for the industry globally and the UK has particular problems with maturing North Sea assets offshore and opposition to fracking onshore. Amber Rudd’s background in investment banking and her previously voiced commitment to policies based on “sound science” will be welcome.

In a recent press release, Deirdre Michie, CEO of Oil & Gas UK, said “Oil & Gas UK looks forward to working with the new Government to promote and develop a sustainable future for the industry. We welcome the appointment of Amber Rudd as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change… For our industry stability is very important, and therefore we also hope to see continuity of office within this new Cabinet.”1

It is important for the industry that the tripartite cooperation of the last few years between Oil & Gas UK, the OGA and HM Treasury continues under the new Secretary of State, to maximise efficient recovery of the UK’s oil and gas and the economic benefits this brings to the country in the face of the global challenges in the industry.

  1. Press release, Oil & Gas UK 11/5/2015