June 16, 2020
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 solutions such as industrial scale Carbon Capture Usage and Storage, and the use of hydrogen for heating and heavy transport.
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 our Roadmap 2035 published last year. Our industry will play its part by reducing its emissions and using its skills to develop the solutions 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.'
UK Minister for Energy Kwasi Kwarteng said:
'The offshore oil and gas sector's commitment to halving operational emissions over the next decade is a welcome step for an industry that has a vital role to play in our energy transition in the years to come. The UK Government will continue to work tirelessly with all partners to deliver a dynamic Sector Deal. This will further support the industry in becoming more sustainable, as we work towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050.'
Paul Wheelhouse, MSP Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the islands said:
'I welcome this report from the UK oil and gas industry and the ambitious targets committing it to halving operational emissions over the next decade.This is not only an important commitment from one of Scotland's key sectors, but a significant step to support Scotland's just transition to net-zero which helps us move at pace.This report is timely as it follows the Scottish Government's announcement on Friday 12 June of £62 million to support our energy transition.'
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 report is available here
A shorter version of the report is here