The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry has today (Tuesday 16) committed to halving operational emissions in the next decade, confirming its pathway to becoming a net zero emissions basin by 2050. The sector is one of the first in the UK to commit to industry-wide targets and provide details on how they will be achieved.
A report published by industry body OGUK, The Pathway to Net Zero: Production Emissions Targets, outlines how targets will be achieved through changes to operations, progressive reductions in flaring and venting, and major capital investment programmes aimed at using electricity rather than gas, to power offshore facilities.
The targets are a key part of a transformational sector deal that industry is now formally discussing with the UK Government. With jobs, the supply chain and energy communities at its core, the sector deal will consider how the UK’s oil and gas industry can support a green recovery. This could see the sector support wider UK efforts to decarbonise, using its skills and infrastructure to develop critical carbon-cutting technologies and infrastructure such as industrial scale Carbon Capture Usage and Storage, and the use of hydrogen for heating and heavy transport.
Sir Ian Wood, Chair of Opportunity North East said:
“ONE welcomes the publication of clear emissions reduction targets by the UK oil and gas industry today. OGUK’s Pathway to Net Zero report highlights the commitment of the sector to reduce emissions and play a significant role in creating an integrated net zero energy mix for the UK.
“The report also underlines the need for public and private investment in step-change decarbonisation solutions and for government to create a legislative and regulatory environment that supports and accelerates action to achieve the ambitious targets for 2045 and 2050.
“The drive for net zero also creates a wealth of new economic opportunities across the UK. In the North East of Scotland, a global centre of energy expertise, ONE has set out the ambition to help create a world leading Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen Harbour Board and Scottish Enterprise.
“The ETZ will create a place to attract and develop green energy related R&D, innovation, manufacturing, testing, demonstration and services, and the business and skills needed to support energy transition activities. The Scottish Government’s recently announced Energy Transition Fund will help evolve the ETZ from a concept to live project but further commitment from industry and government is needed.”
OGUK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie OBE said:
“The coronavirus pandemic and low oil and gas prices have had a devastating impact on the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry. Given the limited impact that the severity of the lockdown has had on global emissions, it is clearer than ever that we need a fair, inclusive, and sustainable transition towards climate targets. We need a green recovery which supports jobs, supply chain companies and energy communities.
"We remain committed to addressing the challenge of climate change, as we outlined in Roadmap 2035 last year. Our industry will play its part by reducing the emissions from its operations and using our skills to innovate and develop carbon-cutting technologies that will be needed to make a significant contribution to the UK’s overall targets.
“A transformational sector deal could help unlock the full potential of this industry to support a green recovery and we’re delighted to confirm that we are now in formal discussions about it. With a clear pathway to becoming a net zero basin by 2050 and with support from governments and regulators, we can protect domestic energy supplies, jobs and communities whilst embracing the opportunities which will come from being at the forefront of delivering a low carbon economy.”
Report author and OGUK Emissions Improvement Manager Louise O’Hara Murray added:
“These targets would remove over 9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions from our operations over the next decade; the same as taking nearly two million cars off the road for a year. Each year we will publicly show progress against our commitments on a sector-wide basis.
“They have been developed with industry following a detailed assessment of the measures needed to deliver them. They consider changes to operations, progressive reductions in flaring and venting and major capital investment programmes to decarbonise production operations.
“Many of the major capital investment projects which will help our sector to decarbonise, including the powering of assets with electricity instead of hydrocarbons, the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen both on and offshore, will need to be developed at scale to help other industries accelerate their own efforts to reduce emissions.”
The full report can be accessed here
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