Last week George Osborne’s Budget included a number of announcements relating to the energy industry which had not been anticipated. Most notable was a fuel duty cut paid for by a tax on North Sea oil and gas production.
Today the independent think tank Reform held a lunch with Ariel Cohen, an international energy security expert from the Heritage Foundation, on the topic of global energy security. What we learnt was that there is considerable instability in global oil and gas markets, especially in the Middle East and Russia.
Regime change in the Middle East is likely to mean even more uncertainty going forward. The events at the Fukushima plant in Japan will cause the world to reflect on nuclear energy, although the sentiment at our lunch was that much of what is happening at the moment is short-termist reaction and the long-term future for nuclear will not be negatively affected in most developed countries.