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UK 'running out of oil and gas'

It has been claimed that within a small matter of years the UK may have to get more than two thirds of its oil and gas from overseas.

WikiLeaks said it had obtained documents showing that there was a “severe” decline in energy production in the North Sea.

The Scotsman reported that the US diplomatic cables showed the UK’s oil and gas reserves are suffering an annual fall of eight per cent.

The cables also reportedly show that within less than a decade Britain will be bringing in 60 to 80 per cent of its oil and gas from overseas.

In a memo to the US government dated March 2008, then energy minister Malcolm Wicks warned that Britain would have to “ensure a diversity of supply” if the deficit was to be addressed.

Also included in the memo was a note that Britain would have to buy gas and oil from Qatar and Norway.

Speaking to The Scotsman, Mr Wicks attributed the comments to the realisation that oil and gas reserves in “Scotland’s back yard” were declining.

The cable said: “The UK will experience a severe decrease in North Sea gas and oil stocks by 2020, and will need to improve its diversity of supply as well as move towards ‘homegrown’ measures such as nuclear and renewables.”

But Professor Alex Kemp - an energy expert at the University of Aberdeen - eased fears.

He said there was still “a lot of oil and gas that’s undiscovered in reserves” in the North Sea.