The UK has been blessed with large reserves of coal, oil and gas and has exploited these over time. The coal industry including the NE coal fields such as the Durham coal field the industrial revolution in the UK and led to our rapid economic development. Some of our coal mines simply ran out or become exhausted, but we still have reserves of coal in the UK. However, our coal became gradually less economic to mine because much of it is deep underground and therefore difficult and expensive to get at. The UK therefore turned to cheaper imports of Polish and Australian coal, which were open cast. There are still coal mines in the UK;
• 10 deep mines
• 22 open cast surface mines
• New proposed areas such as Druridge Bay in Northumberland which has just been given permission to start mining again.
Oil and gas
The UK has reserves of oil and gas in the North Sea, and exploitation of this resource began in 1975. Oil and gas are vitally important to the UK and most of our reserves fall in Scottish territorial waters. Getting at these resources is difficult, as it involves drilling under the sea from large offshore oil and gas rigs. This is dangerous, and there have been accidents such as the Piper Alpha disaster where an oil rig set on fire and various helicopter disasters where workers have been killed just trying to get the rigs to work. However, these 2 resources bring lot of wealth to the UK and provide people with jobs. They also boost the local economies of towns such as Aberdeen.
The UK’s reserves are in decline and we are producing less and less oil and gas. This leaves the UK reliant on overseas imports of oil and gas which makes our energy supply vulnerable. For example, some of our gas imports come from Russia, who have used gas supply as a political tool in the past against the Ukraine for example