Energy imports in the UK - Statistics & Facts

Although historically relatively self-sufficient in covering energy demand, the United Kingdom’s dependency on imports has increased in the past few decades. With oil and gas fields on the continental shelf depleting, and the government phasing-out coal, the country has grown increasingly reliant on supplies from other countries. Energy dependency reached its peak in 2013, at nearly 48 percent. Thanks in large part to growing capacity additions of wind power and a decline in primary energy consumption, the dependency rate had fallen to some 35 percent by 2018. This was notably lower than the European Union average that same year.

Between 1990 and 2018, net imports of electricity increased by 60 percent, amounting to 1.6 million metric tons of oil equivalent in the latter year. This was up from 1.3 million metric tons the previous year and likely the result of a new interconnector to the continent. The Nemo Link to Belgium went live in February 2019 and allows for imports of cheaper electricity as power stations in Britain are charged with higher carbon prices. As more interconnectors are to be set up, electricity imports may continue to increase in the coming years should the difference in carbon pricing not be adjusted accordingly.

Norway is the greatest supplier of primary fuels to the United Kingdom. In 2018, the UK bought some 17.1 million metric tons of crude oil and 1.8 million metric tons of natural gas from its northern neighbor. Most natural gas was imported via pipelines, at a total of 42.8 billion cubic meters in 2018. Qatar is the main exporter of liquefied natural gas to the UK.

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Energy imports in the UK

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Imports of natural gas

Imports of other fuels

Import dependency

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