FEBRUARY 24 2012 14:25h

London gives mixed report on energy sector

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LONDON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The conventional energy sector in the United Kingdom suffered setbacks though renewables made significant gains, the British government said.

The British Department of Energy and Climate Change published statistics about the British energy sector for 2011.

The DECC found natural gas accounted for 54 percent of the inputs into the country's transit system but imports exceeded regional natural gas production for the first time. The country depended on imports for 48 percent of its demand, with significant volumes coming from Qatar and Norway.

"However, despite lower U.K. production, gas exports were at record levels, higher even than when U.K. gas production peaked in 2000," the DECC said in a four-page outline.

The DECC said there were "sharp falls" in the output from oil fields on the regional continental shelf in part because of maintenance activity and slowdowns. Petroleum production was down 17 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year.

For renewable and alternative energy resources, the DECC said nuclear power output was up 11 percent, wind output was up 59 percent and hydropower was up 70 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year.

British energy officials had said they were looking to develop whatever mix of low-carbon technology is the cheapest overall.