23 March 2022

Net zero pathway allows U.K. to stop Russian oil and gas imports by 2024 - analysis

Estimated reading time: 2 Minutes
Top view of ship

An analysis from a team at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment finds that the U.K. could effectively eliminate the need for Russian gas imports in 2023 and oil imports by 2024 if it takes the net zero measures recommended by the Climate Change Committee's 6th carbon budget.

As Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine leads to global sanctions, the U.K. government will shortly release a new energy supply and security strategy with far reaching consequences.

Remaining committed to the balanced net zero pathway would reduce the U.K.'s total demand for oil and gas by around 30% between 2022-30, enabling a reduction in fossil fuel spend by approximately £70bn by 2030.

"A demand reduction like this would offer the U.K. the option of eliminating the most expensive imports first or the strategic option of eliminating Russian gas and oil imports by 2024," states Professor Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.

The analysis also found that, since the 2014 annexation of Crimea, the U.K. has paid Russia in excess of £22bn for oil and gas imports.

"Money going out the door to pay for oil and gas can instead be invested on installing cheaper clean energy, saving U.K. households money in the long-term and helping to protect the planet.

"It is shocking to think that instead, we have paid £22bn to Russia, where Putin has embarked on a cruel and destructive war," says Professor Hepburn. "£22bn is enough to pay for over 8,000 T-14 Russian tanks," he adds.

This short, non-peer reviewed analysis aims to provide stakeholders with relevant quantitative data in a timely manner. It uses published data to contribute reliable statistics to inform public debate.