The UK government has praised the recent commitment of energy companies operating in the North Sea and talked of the region's continued importance in Britain's energy mix.

In a bid to keep North Sea gas and oil producers onside to ensure ongoing utilization of North Sea energy asset, UK trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling has praised the ‘pioneering spirit’ driving the second wave of North Sea exploration and stated that the North Sea was, is and will be ‘absolutely critical’ to delivering the energy needs of the UK going forward.

The supportive rallying cry came from Mr Darling as he became the first secretary of state to chair the PILOT meeting of oil and gas representatives in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Self-confident, innovating, looking to the future not the past. That is the industry we see today. That is why it is important I’m here to hear directly from those delivering. Delivering local jobs, delivering for the country, Mr Darling said at the meeting.

With up to an estimated 20 million barrels of oil remaining in North Sea reserves, added to significant gas seams, Mr Darling was keen to tell the industry that the UK government continues to stand firmly behind it.

With that in mind, Westminster has begun a consultation on plans for having more offshore gas storage and creating new ‘energy platforms’ for the unloading of liquefied natural gas (LNG).