Trade association UK Oil & Gas (OGUK), which represents the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, has committed to halving emissions from North Sea facilities by 2030. The target will act as a milestone for the longer-term goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
OGUK’s report Pathway to Net Zero: Production Emissions Targets sets out the sector-wide target, which will be reached through various means, such as using electricity instead of gas for powering rigs and reducing the flaring and venting of natural gas. The reductions are said to be equivalent to taking two million cars off the road.
Deirdre Michie, the chief executive of OGUK, pointed out the devastating impact of the COVID-19 on the oil and gas industry and indicated the need for a green recovery for the sector, saying:
“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.”
While oil will still be needed for fuel and products like hydraulic oil for some time to come, there is a growing recognition among the oil and gas industry of the need to move towards new business models in response to a declining demand for oil. BP, the oil major behind the Castrol brand, recently downgraded its assets by £14bn in recognition of lower oil demand in the coming decades.