Cost of energy imports to UK trade balance

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at
Thu Oct 21 10:03:57 BST 2010

Hash: SHA256

An interesting article on The Oil Drum Europe -- given the present debate in 
the media about cuts and spending:

Cost of energy imports to UK trade balance

Posted by Euan Mearns on October 21, 2010

Over the years I have drawn attention to concerns about the impact that peak 
oil (1999) and gas (2000) in the UK North Sea would have on UK trade balance. 
In the space of a decade, the UK has gone from oil and gas exporter to 
importer. In articles such as UK Energy Security (July 2007) and A State of 
Emergency (June 2008) I speculated about the financial cost and in today's 
article I put real numbers on the cost of UK energy imports.


For my own take on this see:
- -- or on my site at --

With the cuts in public spending there's a lot of talk about the "structural 
deficit". Unfortunately the discussion at present only relates to the 
Government's own structural deficit, not the UK as a whole. The importance of 
the decline of indigenous UK energy resources, which I explain at length in my 
presentation, is that the UK deficit ceases to be a purely fiscal problem based 
upon the excess of credit spending over wealth generation, but instead becomes 
a direct drain on capital as the pressure to import the energy required to 
make the economy function grows.

There is no simple solutions to this issue. Either Britain develops a 
significant export-based economy -- unlikely within the period over which these 
pressures will take effect -- or we significantly contract economic activity as 
a whole to reduce the need to import energy to within manageable boundaries -- 
not impossible, but politically unacceptable at present whilst we maintain the 
mythical mantra of growth at the core of public policy. However, as I enter my 
tenth year of working full time on this subject, even many of the more 
progressive/radical campaign and social groups in the UK are not ready to 
accept this reality. In practice I think that contraction will take place at 
the behest of events rather than any planned "power down".


- -- 

"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul's book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
For details see

Read my message board, "Ecolonomics", at:

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
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