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Editorial comment

Much has changed here in the UK since the last issue of Hydrocarbon Engineering was published. In the space of a couple of days, we had a change in both government and monarch, following the appointment of Liz Truss as the country’s new Prime Minister and the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. And it’s fair to say that things have been a little turbulent ever since...

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Although the new Conservative government immediately attempted to settle growing public anxiety by introducing a temporary cap on spiralling energy prices, its broader economic plan has created turmoil in the financial markets. A ‘bold’ package of massive tax cuts, funded by public borrowing, has seen the pound fall to record lows against the US dollar. To stem the tide, the Bank of England will likely have to hike up interest rates to restore some market stability. At the time of writing, reports suggest that the UK government plans to ride out the storm in the hope that the markets gain confidence that its economic policy will stimulate growth. But hope is very much the key word here.

Aside from its package of tax cuts, the new UK government has also unveiled a plan to bolster the country’s energy security. It has lifted the moratorium on shale gas production in England and confirmed its support for a new oil and gas licensing round, which is expected to lead to over 100 new licenses that will enable developers to search for commercially-viable oil and gas sources. The UK hopes to boost its energy resilience, in light of Russia’s “weaponisation of energy”, with the ambition to become a net energy exporter by 2040. By lifting the pause on shale gas extraction, the government plans to gather data and build an understanding of the UK’s shale gas resources (to date, only three test wells have been hydraulically-fractured in the country). The government also intends to drive the development of renewables; nuclear; carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS); and hydrogen. It has published a list of infrastructure projects that it plans to accelerate as soon as possible, including the Hynet Cluster in the northwest of England, and the East Coast Cluster in northeast England. Hydrogen projects included in the plan are the Hynet hydrogen pipeline, INOVYN hydrogen storage (Hynet Cluster), East Coast Cluster hydrogen pipeline, and Aldbrough hydrogen storage (East Coast Cluster), as well as hydrogen electrolyser capacity deployment.

On the topic of hydrogen, the second issue of Global Hydrogen Review magazine is out now. Turn to p. 61 and scan the QR code to download your free copy. If you like what you see, you can also sign up for a free subscription to the magazine here:

And I’d also like to invite you to attend Global Hydrogen Review’s inaugural Global Hydrogen Conference. This virtual conference will include a number of interesting presentations from thought leaders in the hydrogen sector, as well as live Q&As and networking opportunities. Sign up for free here:


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