Depressing news for fans of economic growth as Hunt claimed it’s “virtually impossible” to make any tax cuts until the economy improves on LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr. This is despite lower inflation and a stop to interest rate hikes. Who’s surprised?
Guido thinks its worth reminding the Chancellor and Number 10 what they said about tax when they were making “all the right noises.”
After yesterday’s announcement that the government would issue hundreds of new oil and gas licences in the North Sea, Guido wasn’t surprised to see outrage from Just Stop Oil and their political wing. Ed Miliband was quick out the gates: he slammed the “weak and confused policy” and promised a “phased and responsible transition in the North Sea”. In the same press release the Labour Party warned of the “dangers” of prioritising new oil and gas, warning that it would contribute to “climate disaster”. You would think reversing this “failed” policy would be the priority of any incoming Labour administration…
Yet, once again, Labour couldn’t back up their words were action. On Newsnight yesterday, Thangam Debbonaire was asked if a Labour administration would revoke the new licences. Thangam couldn’t commit to reversing the policy, only going as far as to say:
“We will grant no new licences”.
As Kirsty Wark put it, this leaves Labour pursuing “exactly the same strategy” as the government. The very same “weak and confused” strategy supposedly contributing to “climate disaster”…
Today Nicola Sturgeon has told Scots to be “sensible” with their energy usage, and warned of a “real concern […] about energy supplies” as the UK faces blackouts over Christmas. So surely she’d back any means possible to help keep the lights on this winter?
Not exactly. As Whitehall gives the go-ahead for a new oil and gas licensing round to shore up long-term supplies, Sturgeon used her appearance on the Today Programme as an opportunity to attack Jacob Rees-Mogg, and insist the process be bogged down by yet more bureaucracy:
“I don’t support a haphazard ‘just give the go-ahead’ without stringent climate compatibility checks […] I’d rather we had a proper, planned [transition]…”
Pushed by Mishal Husain on whether an independent Scotland would even support the licensing round, Sturgeon hesitated, again saying
“…Not without stringent climate compatibility checks. Not with Jacob Rees-Mogg just waking up one morning and deciding it’s the right thing to do. We have vast renewable potential. What we’ve got to do is have a careful, planned transition. The point I was trying to make before you interrupted me was to say we’ve […] given the potential go-ahead to 20 gigawatts of offshore wind…”
Obviously pushing for renewables should be part of the package, although spending years trying to block North Sea drilling only to then warn everyone they might go cold this winter is something else…
The rhetoric of COP26 is now just rhetoric as Russia’s resource ransoming has given Europe a reality check, today Boris called in energy barons to discuss domestic energy security in the light of Putin’s stranglehold on European gas. Downing Street says they will also be meeting renewable and nuclear companies in the coming weeks. Oil and gas however were his first priority.
The government emphasises it remains committed to North Sea oil and the gas industry as key assets if the UK is to achieve greater energy independence – ever more crucial following the invasion of Ukraine and the consequent recent decision to end imports of Russian oil over the course of this year:
“The Prime Minister and CEOs discussed increasing investment in the North Sea oil and gas industry and boosting supply of domestic gas. This included how the UK can remove barriers facing investors and developers, and help projects come online more quickly. They agreed to work together going forwards to help accelerate this further.”
Steve Barclay, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Energy Minister Greg Hands, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke also joined the meeting at Downing Street. Those represented from the oil and gas industry included: the Oil and Gas Authority, Blackstone Energy Partners, Bluewater Energy, BP, Carlyle International Energy Partners, Equinor, Esso, Greenergy, Harbour Energy, Neptune Energy, Offshore Energies UK, Prax Group, TotalEnergies and Shell. All this is a welcome change from the frankly pie-in-the-sky rhetoric of COP26. Noticeably absent were onshore gas firm Caudrilla though…
An advert for Canadian oil showing a steamy lesbian kiss was pulled after killjoys lashed out. The ad, fronted by the Canada Oil Sands Community Facebook page, featured a raunchy tryst with the caption “In Canada lesbians are considered hot! In Saudi Arabia if you’re a lesbian YOU DIE!”
While the page has removed the advert, it today uploaded a new one depicting two men being hanged, with the text:
“Did you know it’s against the law to be gay in Saudi Arabia? If you get caught being gay you die. Why is Canada importing oil from places like this when we have our own?”
Pro-fracking groups in Lancashire should listen and learn…
Scandal-hit Brazilian oil company Petrobras received £250 million from the UK taxpayer last year, extending its credit line to over £1.1 billion. While loans to companies buying British goods is fairly standard practice, the government decided to extend Petrobras’ line of credit after it became embroiled in a huge corruption and bribery scandal that led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. What’s worse, the state-owned company has had a plummeting credit rating in recent months, with Moody’s giving them a rating of B3 and the Wall Street Journal calling them “the World’s most indebted oil company”. What could go wrong?