NORTH Sea-focused Cluff Natural Resources has said the UK must maximise the production of gas in its waters to minimise reliance on supplies from overseas amid efforts to tackle climate change.

The company’s chairman Mark Lappin noted the Committee on Climate Change had recognised oil and gas would account for the bulk of the country’s energy needs while efforts are made to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

Mr Lapping said the Committee had produced a report that was generally thorough and thoughtful and that recognised ‘net zero’ did not mean the end of hydrocarbon production.

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However, Mr Lappin observed: “ The key difference between the Climate Change Committee and our own view is that instead of becoming increasingly reliant on imports from overseas we should be focussing on national production and consumption of natural gas from the United Kingdom Continental Shelf.”

He added: “A domestic supply of natural gas is good for jobs, good for tax receipts and the balance of payments, as well as being better for the environment compared with importing gas from as far afield as the Middle East and South America.”

Mr Lappin made his comments on a day the Brent crude price surged 20 per cent in early trading after drone strikes on Saudi Arabian facilities at the weekend led to the interruption of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil production per day. That is equivalent to more than five per cent of the world’s daily supply.

Read more: Price of petrol to soar after attack on oil facilities 

Analysts said the long term impact of the events in Saudi Arabia on oil prices may be limited given the uncertain outlook for the global economy. The events could lead to renewed debate about the importance of UK production nonetheless.

An Australian firm yesterday showed belief in the potential of the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) by agreeing to buy in to acreage west of the gas-rich Morecambe Bay.

Champions of the North Sea oil and gas industry have mounted a push to defend it in the face of criticism from environmental groups.

Oil services tycoon Sir Ian Wood said recently that environmental campaigners were wrong to call for production of oil and gas to be stopped arguing the world would not be able to manage without them for years.

He noted estimates that by 2050 renewables may only be meeting two thirds of our energy requirements.

Cluff Natural Resources has made progress in an area that many bigger fish had appeared to have lost interest in.

Founded by entrepreneur Algy Cluff, it acquired acreage in the Southern North Sea containing gas prospects amid the downturn triggered by the crude price plunge that started in 2014.

In the company’s interim results announcement yesterday, Mr Lappin said the firm had taken important steps in the six months to June 30 towards achieving its ambition of becoming a leading UK Player.

Read more: North Sea exploration pioneer wins vote of confidence from Shell

The company has sold stakes in two Southern North Sea licences containing big prospects to Royal Dutch Shell in recent months.

Cluff noted that Shell had indicated its intention to seek to drill a well on the Selene prospect on one of the licences at the earliest possible opportunity.

Separately, Australia’s Oilex has agreed to acquire interests in three gas discoveries in the East Irish Sea from Koru Energy for £500,000.

Managing director Joe Salomon said: “The Licences … provide the initial platform for the Company to build the necessary critical mass for a sustainable UKCS business.”