Oil, petrol and natural gas

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on oil, petrol and natural gas. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

21.10.2014Shale gas and fracking
Drilling for shale gas is at only the exploratory phase in the UK. But the rapid development of shale gas resources in North America has transformed the world gas-market outlook. This note includes new tables showing petroleum exploration licences by constituency.
14.05.2014Carbon Price Floor
Details of the Carbon Floor Price and the Governemnts annoucnemnt to freeze prices until 2020
31.01.2014Energy prices
The price of domestic gas and electricity has generally increased over the past eight years after around a decade of falling prices. The cost of heating oil has increased by a larger amount. There have been some price cuts over the past few years, but these have been smaller than the price rises. Last winter all of the big six energy suppliers increased gas and electricity prices by between 6% and 11%. So far this autumn only SSE has announced a price increase (8%) which will be implemented in mid-November. Domestic prices have ratcheted up as higher operating, network and environmental costs and higher supplier margins have magnified the impact of longer term increases in wholesale costs. In the medium to long term the pressures on price all appear to be upwards and the only way for most consumers to reduce the impact of increased unit costs, and even to reduce their bills, is through energy efficiency improvements.
29.01.2014Petrol and diesel prices
Road fuel prices have increased steadily since their recent lows in early 2009. Petrol prices reached a record monthly high in May 2010, set new records in December 2010 and in each of the following five months and broke these again in March and April 2012. Since then petrol prices have been in the 131-139 pence per litre range. Diesel prices exceeded their summer 2008 highs in January 2011 and also set new highs in each of the next four months. New records were set in February, March and April 2012. Prices fell by 10 11 pence per litre over summer 2012 and have been in the 138-145 pence per litre range since then.
29.01.2014Oil Prices
Oil prices peaked at almost $150 Dollars a barrel in July 2008 and fell sharply in the second half of 2008 as the global financial crisis hit. Prices have increased since then, despite a fairly weak global economy. Political unrest across the Middle East and the revolt in Libya contributed to further price rises in early 2011. Subsequent prices in 2011 and 2012 have been volatile; falling amid concerns about the world economy and going up as tension between Iran and the West increases. Prices were less volatile in 2013 but the average was close to the near record levels seen in the previous two years. Some commentators have said that quantitative easing has contributed to the underlying price increases. Sustained high prices in 2011 meant the annual average price was above that seen in 2008 and the highest since 1864. The latest spot price is around $107 per barrel. This is $43 below the peak, but the weaker pound has meant that in early 2012 and early 2013 Sterling prices have approached or exceeded their 2008 peak. The International Energy Agency's business as usual projections put the price of oil at almost $250 per barrel in 2035.

Research Papers

12.03.2013Energy Bill: Committee Stage Report
This paper complements Library Research Paper 12/79 on the Energy Bill 2012-13. It covers the Bill's Second Reading and Committee Stages. The Bill seeks to implement electricity market reform and introduces 'contracts for difference' to support all forms of low carbon generation, including nuclear. Government amendments made during Committee Stage related to cheaper energy tariffs and setting a decarbonisation target.
13.12.2012Energy Bill
The Energy Bill [Bill 100 of 2012-13] seeks to implement 'electricity market reform' and through this achieve 'secure, clean and affordable' electricity supplies. The Bill was introduced to the Commons on 29 November 2012 and will have its Second Reading debate on 19 December 2012. A draft Bill was subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.
19.10.2012Social Indicators
A compendium of the latest social statistics. This edition includes articles on: UK aviation: airports and capacity; Road fuel prices and taxes across the EU; and a look back at London 2012.
04.05.2011Energy Bill [HL]
This briefing on the Energy Bill has been prepared for the Second Reading Debate in the House of Commons. The flagship policy in the Bill is the 'Green Deal', a scheme whereby homes would be given finance upfront to make energy efficiency improvements, which would then be paid for by energy bill savings. The Bill would also set up a new obligation on energy companies to help certain groups of consumers with saving energy, who need extra support. The Bill also introduces a range of other measures designed to improve energy efficiency; such as facilitating the roll-out of smart meters, widening access to energy performance certificates and making information on energy bills clearer. The Bill also provides measures designed to help improve energy security, to encourage low carbon generation and to grant additional powers to the Coal Authority to charge for certain services.
23.04.2008Energy Bill: Committee Stage Report
[Bill 79 of 2007-08]

Select Committee Reports

14.10.2009UK offshore oil and gas.
Government response. Department of Energy and Climate Change; Energy and Climate Change Select Committee report [Commons]
17.06.2009UK offshore oil and gas.
Energy and Climate Change Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House notes the contribution of the oil and gas industry to the UK economy; further notes that this billion pound industry supported 440,000 jobs across the UK in 2010 with ...
That this House believes that fuel prices on motorways are too high; notes that a recent survey by WhatCar? found that fuel prices on motorways are up to 7.4 per cent. higher than the ...
That this House believes a moratorium should be placed on onshore and offshore exploration, development and production of shale gas via the withdrawal of UK Petroleum Exploration and ...
That this House notes that the Northern Ireland Justice Minister estimated in 2011 that there is an annual tax loss of 200 million from fuel fraud and cross-border fuel shopping in ...
That this House believes that the current cost of fuel is one of the biggest brakes on economic growth, and is causing hardship for many; notes that this is especially true in towns ...

Lords Library Notes

13.12.2010Debate on 16 December 2010: Deepwater Horizon and its implications. LLN 2010/030
Debate on 16 December 2010: Deepwater Horizon and its implications. House of Lords Library Note 2010/030

POST Papers

11.07.2014Smart Metering of Energy and Water
Smart meters record energy and water usage and improve how this information is relayed to both consumer and suppliers. The Government plans to roll-out smart meters of electricity and gas to all households in Great Britain by the end of 2020. This POSTnote examines the potential benefits and risks associated with smart metering of both water and energy, and the challenges for the energy smart metering roll-out.
23.01.2012Measuring Energy Security
This POSTnote explores ways in which energy security may be measured for monitoring purposes.
01.07.2011Biofuels from algae, July 2011
This POSTnote examines the technical, economic and environmental issues around algal biofuels and their relevance to UK and EU policy targets.
01.04.2011Unconventional gas, April 2011
This POSTnote examines the potential for unconventional gas exploitation in the UK, the regulatory regimes covering such activity, and the issues surrounding the extraction and use of the gas.
01.02.2008Smart metering of electricity and gas, February 2008
Smart metering of electricity and gas, February 2008. POSTnote 08/301.
01.10.2007Public opinion on electricity options, October 2007
Public opinion on electricity options, October 2007. POSTnote 07/294.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses