A new “roadmap” has set out the UK oil and gas industry’s ambition to transform the North Sea into a basin with net-zero emissions.
The plan was launched at Offshore Europe which kicked off yesterday and runs until Friday at the city’s new P&J Live.
It shows the sector can thrive without compromising the UK’s new legally-binding commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.
Targets have also been set for oil and gas production, exports, employment and technology in the document, which is the result of a consultation with 2,500 people across the sector.
Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) chief executive Deirdre Michie said the roadmap was “one of the first industrial responses” to the UK Government’s new goals, and showed “an industry in action with a credible plan”. She said the sector was ready for the “huge challenge” of providing reliable energy, playing a “major role” in the net-zero emissions crusade.
The roadmap is an “evolution” of Vision 2035 – industry’s aim of fulfilling as much UK energy demand as possible from domestic production, doubling supply chain export revenues and supporting the energy transition.
North Sea firms are already taking action to reduce emissions from their operations, OGUK said, adding the sector could make a huge contribution to developing low carbon technology.
Oil companies face growing pressure from environmentalists and activist investors who want them to stop extracting fossil fuels and spend more money on renewables. Industry leaders have argued that oil and gas will be a vital part of the global energy mix for many decades to come.
OGUK said oil and gas would meet around two-thirds of UK energy needs by 2035, while contributing more than £8.5 billion to the Exchequer over the next five years.
The organisation also pointed out that only 3% of total UK emissions are from oil and gas production and the carbon intensity of North Sea operations had reduced by 16% since 2013.
The organisation’s report has highlighted a growing acceptance that firms must do more to shrink their carbon footprints if they are to “maintain societal and political support”.
Ms Michie added: “While we don’t have all the answers to the big challenges we face, we have started work on what we know can be done.”