FirstFT: UK pulls the starting gun on North Sea oil and gas exploration


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UK regulators today kicked off a new round of licenses allowing companies to explore for oil and gas in the North Sea, as climate campaigners threatened a legal challenge.

The North Sea Transition Authority is set to award more than 100 permits to companies by the end of June as the government seeks to boost Britain’s energy self-sufficiency, in part by extracting more fossil fuels of the North Sea, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But environmental group Greenpeace claimed the licensing round was potentially “illegal” and said it would try to take legal action.

Climate campaigners have said the government’s push to get more oil and gas from the North Sea conflicts with its pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

License rounds used to be a near-annual event. But a pause was introduced after the last round in 2019-20, with the government promising to devise a ‘climate compatibility check’ to ensure permit allocations were ‘in line with the UK’s wider climate goals’. .

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1. United States: “no complaints” in response to OPEC+ oil cuts The White House said no shares were on the table a day after the Saudi-led cartel unveiled deep cuts in global oil supplies, as it considers new versions of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to contain energy prices.

2. EU and Norway agree on “common tools” to deal with the gas crisis Oslo said it would work with Brussels to develop tools to reduce high gas prices ahead of a looming energy crisis this winter. Norway has replaced Russia as the EU’s main gas supplier since the invasion of Ukraine.

  • Learn more about energy: The UK is set to sign a deal with a European energy partnership it left after Brexit, in the first result of warming ties with Brussels.

3. The most expensive house in London “owned by the founder of Evergrande” The 45-bedroom mansion overlooking Hyde Park is owned by Hui Ka Yan, the head of the beleaguered Chinese property group and former China’s richest man, according to people familiar with the £210m secret sale.

4. BoE says £65bn gilt intervention averted financial ‘spiral’ Britain’s central bank has defended last week’s emergency intervention in the government debt market following Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s ‘mini’ budget, saying it intervened to prevent a $50 billion fire sale sterling by pension funds which would have brought Britain to the brink of a financial crisis.

  • Opinion: The gilt turmoil shows that governments elsewhere will have to work harder to keep markets on their side, writes Katie Martin.

5. Gotham and Portsea founders join forces in short selling fund Two of the biggest names in short selling are join forces to launch a new hedge fund next year, betting that a slowdown in the markets will help them replicate successful bets against companies such as Wirecard and Steinhoff.

How closely have you followed the news this week? Take our quiz discover.

The coming days

Prague European Summit Member States will discuss limiting energy price increases at an informal meeting of the European Council. A growing number of countries have supported a cap on gas prices.

Economic data Employment will be the focus of concern in the United States, where the Labor Department’s September payrolls report is expected to show a slowdown in hiring in September and the unemployment rate near a record low of 3.7% . The UK releases its quarterly productivity overview, the monthly Halifax house price index and a monthly employment report. Italy has retail sales in August.

business profits JD Wetherspoon publishes its annual report.

Scottish National Party Conference Scotland’s largest political party begins its 88th annual rally in Aberdeen tomorrow. Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to deliver a keynote address.

UK train strike Another 24-hour strike will take place tomorrow by railway workers from the RMT union in a dispute over jobs, wages and working conditions.

Elections It’s another weekend of polls, starting with a general election in Lesotho today in which incumbent Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro fails to stand. Austrians voted in the presidential elections on Sunday, when incumbent President Alexander Van der Bellen defends his six-year term. Germany is holding regional elections in Lower Saxony on the same day.

What else we read

Where climate change is not global: audit Auditors pointed to climate change as a difficult issue when auditing some companies, but not consistently. It could be that listeners, given the choice, avoid a burning issue while they still can, writes Helen Thomas.

How the cost of living crisis is weighing on UK households A fifth of Britons say they are being forced to borrow more to meet their payments, with half unable to save at all as households feel the pain of the cost of living crisis. See how soaring inflation is shaping spending and borrowing decisions in this series of charts.

Line chart of % Essentials cut, sale of items, or dip into savings in the past month to cover essential expenses showing that two-thirds of households have made at least one adjustment to cover essential expenses in the past month of the last month

Iranian students shape anti-regime protests For the first time in years, Iranian universities have once again become the center of outrage over the death in custody of a woman arrested for allegedly breaking the Islamic dress code. Despite the crackdown, the protests continued to spread.

It’s time for investors to learn a new game If anything is clear from the recent turmoil in the UK government bond market and the swings in the pound sterling, the times are seriously off balance. What can we do about it? Buy property, consider green investments and delay retirement, writes John Plender.

Best US Cities for Foreign Affairs, Ranked Miami was ranked the best city in the United States for foreign multinationals to do business, in the inaugural Investing in America ranking compiled by the Financial Times and Nikkei. Last year, the Florida city attracted the most foreign direct investment per capita of any location surveyed.

Fashion

Think of sneakers as the Facebook equivalent of shoes: a bit outdated now that they’re ubiquitous among baby boomers and billionaires. Millennials and Gen Z are taking off their sneakers to revisit formal footwear, even with casual wear.

Leather derbies are now worn with denim shorts and ankle socks, as seen in the streets of Paris

Leather derbies are now worn with denim shorts and ankle socks, as seen on the streets of Paris © Getty Images

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