North Sea gas production has slumped by 25% in the second quarter of the year, an alarming increase in the rate of decline that will cut tax revenues and could put more pressure on government to agree controversial shale gas developments.
Figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) also show a 36% rise in coal imports, but a leap from 6.3% to 9.6% for the amount of electricity generated by wind and other renewables.
The department records that the output of oil and associated gas liquids fell by 16% in the three months to the end of June, compared with a year earlier – the biggest decline since records began 16 years ago.
This left Britain importing 3.6m tonnes of oil in the second quarter, compared with 2.8m tonnes in the same period of 2010, even though total oil demand fell by 1.7%.
But the largest fall was in the amount of gas produced from the southern North Sea, where operators have been arguing that projects may have to be shut down because of a rise in government taxes in the last budget.
Visits since 2006/05/11: