Fossil fuel industry in the UK - Statistics & Facts

Published by Ian Tiseo, Jan 17, 2019
The United Kingdom fossil fuel industry has seen a steady decline in indigenous production, which in 2017 fell to nearly a third of what it had been in 2000. This development is reflected in the energy distribution, which shows that by 2017 fossil fuels accounted for 80.1 percent of overall energy used. This was a decrease compared to 1970, when fossil fuels still made up 96.5 percent of energy consumed.
In the last six years, the average price of fossil fuels bought by major power producers has been declining, with the price of oil listed at 2.94 pence per kWh in the fourth quarter of 2017, making it the most expensive fossil fuel.

The number of enterprises in the crude petroleum and natural gas extraction industry has been declining in parallel with production figures. By 2017, there were 40 enterprises with an annual turnover of more than 5 million British pounds. This was a decrease compared to four years previous at 50 enterprises. The decline in the number of coal mining enterprises was even more pronounced. Only five enterprises with an annual turnover of more than 5 million British pounds were still operating in 2017.

In contrast to the overall decline in oil production as described above, a combination of production efficiency improvements and new fields has seen a fuel production increase on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf. Figures rose to an estimated 620 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2018. However, the number of offshore oil and gas wells under exploration and development has been shrinking. According to provisional results, there were 22 wells in exploration and appraisal phase in 2016, with a peak recorded in 2007 at 111 wells.

As for the indigenous production of coal, a steady decline has been recorded between 2012 and 2017, with figures for 2017 being only a fifth of production volume five years previous. The number of functioning deep mine and opencast coal mines has seen a similar development. In 2017, there were three deep mines and 17 opencast sites in commission.

In terms of trading, imports of crude oil and natural gas had experienced only slight fluctuations between 2000 and 2017, while exports were decreasing. The coal mining trade had seen similar development, with the import volume being 17 times higher than export volume in 2017.

The most common form coal use was the transformation to electricity, with 8.7 million metric tons worth used for electricity generation in 2017. By comparison, coke manufacture took up 1.9 million metric tons worth.
The pulp, paper and printing industry was the second highest coal consumer after the mineral products industry, accounting for 137 thousand metric tons of coal used in 2017.

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Fossil fuel industry in the United Kingdom (UK)

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Enterprises and employment

Oil and gas production

Coal production



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Fossil fuel industry in the UK Infographic - The price of fuel in the UK

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