Ex-BP Boss John Browne Backs Labour’s Ban on New North Sea Drilling

John Browne Backs Labour’s Ban on New North Sea Drilling

Former BP CEO John Browne has made a noteworthy recommendation before the upcoming general election, urging the UK to cease issuing new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. Dubbed the Sun King throughout his term spanning from 1995 to 2007, Browne prioritised the importance of developing substantial strategies for the nation’s transition to renewable energy. He asserted that this action would showcase leadership in attaining a state of net-zero emissions.

Browne’s remarks, as reported in the Financial Times, broadly correspond with Labour’s stance, which is against the initiation of fresh oil and gas exploration. On the other hand, the Conservative party advocates for conducting yearly licencing rounds in order to optimise production from the ageing North Sea oil basin. Browne contended that it is imperative to sustain ongoing operations, but he asserted that forthcoming exploration is economically impractical in comparison to importing oil and gas.

Shadow Climate Secretary Ed Miliband expressed his approval of Browne’s position, emphasising the agreement among energy specialists in opposition to granting new oil and gas licences. Labour intends to strengthen the windfall tax on earnings from the North Sea in order to finance GB Energy, a publicly-owned green energy company with an initial capital of £8.3 billion.

Browne, who shifted his attention to climate investing with General Atlantic in 2021, proposes utilising the income generated from current oil and gas production to enhance investment in wind, solar, and associated infrastructure. His involvement contributes a compelling voice to the demand for expediting the United Kingdom’s shift towards renewable energy sources.