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Britain's North Sea plan draws mixed reviews

Feb. 25, 2014 at 6:51 AM

LONDON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- London's decision to breathe new life into the North Sea was welcomed by the energy sector, though climate fears surfaced given heavy flooding in the country.

The British government said it supported recommendations from retired businessman Ian Wood to secure more oil and natural gas reserves from the North Sea. The government expects to secure $330 billion in the next two decades through the recovery of the 3 billion to 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent Wood says is still left in the North Sea.

British energy company Dana Petroleum, which last year started a nine-well, $1.6 billion development project in the North Sea, welcomed the decision.

Chief Executive Officer Graham Scotton said in a statement Monday the call to change the face of North Sea operations through more efficient use of new and existing infrastructure "is absolutely vital to the industry's future success, and changes must be implemented as soon as possible."

David Powell, a campaigner from Friends of Earth, said putting an emphasis on fossil fuels in the North Sea would exacerbate an already severe climate threat.

"Britain's energy future doesn't lie in yet more fossil fuels, but in energy efficiency and taking advantage of our huge potential for renewable power," he said in a statement.

The Met Office, the country's weather agency, said historic flooding and rains may be a reflection of a changing climate.

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