A study has revealed UK oil and gas reserves may only last another decade, with close to just 10 per cent of recoverable oil and gas left.
Researchers have warned that if the predictions are correct, the UK will soon have to import all the oil and gas it needs.
The analysis also found that fracking will be “barely” economically feasible in the UK, especially in Scotland, because of a lack of sites with suitable geology.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh examined the UK’s likely potential for fracking and carried out a fresh analysis of the country’s oil and gas production.
Their findings take into account the long-term downward trends of oil and gas field size and lifespan, alongside the break-even costs for fracking.
They found that the UK only has minimal potential for fracking.
They explained that many possible sites are in densely populated areas, have “low quality source rocks” and “complex geological histories.”
Scientists say: “Fracking is likely to be too restricted to become an effective industry, which would require thousands of wells.”
Analysis of the Earth’s mineral reserves shows that discoveries of oil and gas have consistently lagged behind output since the late 1990s.
Researchers are calling for a move towards greater use of renewable energy sources, including offshore wind and advanced solar energy.
The study, in The Edinburgh Geologist, is published by the Edinburgh Geological Society.
Professor Roy Thompson, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: “The UK urgently needs a bold energy transition plan, instead of trusting to dwindling fossil fuel reserves and possible fracking.
“We must act now and drive the necessary shift to a clean economy with integration between energy systems.
“There needs to be greater emphasis on renewables, energy storage and improved insulation and energy efficiencies.”