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UK fossil fuel output tumbles by over 9%

The UK's total energy production fell by more than 9% in the second quarter of 2013, according to government data

The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said total energy production was 28.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) in the second quarter of 2013, a fall of 9.4% compared with the 31.7m toe from the same period last year

The UK's Q2 2013 oil production fell by 13.4% year on-year, to 11.2m toe, because of both natural declines in the North Sea and field maintenance, Decc said.

Q2 natural gas production fell by 2.4% year-on-year, to 10.1m toe, as Total's Elgin-Franklin field in the North Sea remains in partial operation. The field was restarted in March after a year-long shutdown.

The country's coal production was 3.4 million toe in the second quarter of 2013, down 14.5% year-on-year. Decc said a fall in both deep-mined and surface-mining production, following the closures of collieries, was to blame for the loss in output. UK Coal, the country's main coal producer, went into administration in July following a fire in March that closed its Daw Mill deep mine, in Warwickshire.

The UK's domestic oil and gas output has fallen every year since 1999. In 2012 alone, the UK's oil production fell 14% to 355m barrels - a decline of almost 70% since 1999.

The UK's electricity production in the second quarter of 2013 was 9.8% lower than in the second quarter of 2012 mainly because of a 16.5% loss of nuclear power generation, Decc said. The UK's nuclear production was 3.3m toe in the second quarter of 2013, down from 4m toe in the same quarter of 2012.

Year-on-year electricity generation from gas and coal fell by 6% and 7% respectively in the period, the government said.

However, electricity generated from renewable energy in Q2 2013 soared by almost 56% year-on-year, to 12.8 terawatt hours. This includes power produced from solar energy, offshore and onshore wind, hydro power and bio energy.

The share of UK electricity generated from renewables reached 15% in the second quarter of 2013, Decc said, up from 10% in the same period last year.

Offshore wind generation increased by 70%, compared with the second quarter of 2012, because of a ramp up in both onshore and offshore capacity and higher wind speeds, Decc said.

Electricity generation from bioenergy increased by 58% because of conversions of two new coal stations to biomass facilities. Decc said total renewable energy capacity was 19.5 gigawatts in the second quarter of 2013, up 38% year-on-year.

Energy dependency

In the second quarter of 2013 the UK's energy-import dependency increased to 51.4%, up 9.6% year-on-year. This was because of a 16.8% rise in oil imports and a 7.8% fall in oil exports, Decc said. Natural gas imports also increased by 8.7% year-on-year while the UK's gas exports fell by 9.8%.

The UK has been a net gas importer since 2004, due to a combination of declining domestic production and a steady rise in domestic demand.

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