British Prime Minister Theresa May dismantles British Department of Energy and Climate Change and forms new broader entity with Greg Clark at the helm. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo
LONDON, July 15 (UPI) -- With the British Cabinet evolving, industry group Oil & Gas U.K. said it was incumbent upon the new leadership to focus on one of the country's best assets.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, appointed Wednesday, dismantled the British Department of Energy and Climate Change and rolled its responsibilities into the larger Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Greg Clark, the appointed leader, said it was an honor to serve in the May government.
"I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy," he said in a statement.
Deirdre Michie, the chief executive of Oil & Gas U.K., said in a statement after the May appointment the uncertainty for the energy sector in the face of the British exit from the European Union meant more support than ever was needed. With Clark in charge of energy policies under the diluted structure, Michie said her group was looking forward to addressing potential challenges with the new minister as soon as possible.
"We very much welcomed the joined up approach taken by the previous government and we hope ministers will continue to work together across the relevant departments to support our sector," she said.
Michie's group in February said that, with spending on new projects in 2016 expected to move far below the level from five years ago, there were few prospects for legacy momentum in the North Sea and elsewhere in the British energy sector.
Former DECC Secretary Amber Rudd said after the referendum the British economy enjoyed "significant advantages" as a member of the European Union, warning of a long period of uncertainty because of the EU divorce.
"Offshore oil and gas is one of this country's greatest industrial success stories and must remain a lynchpin of a U.K. industrial strategy," Michie said.
Members of the opposition Labor Party said May's steps in the wake of her appointment are worrying. Shadow Minister Jon Ashworth said in a sweeping condemnation that the May government was already failing.