UK’s offshore oil and gas sector cuts emissions by 3% while upping production

A new report from Oil & Gas UK shows upstream oil and gas operations directly contributed around 3% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions

The UK’s offshore oil and gas sector cut emissions by 3% in 2018 while simultaneously upping production by 4% year-on-year.

That’s according to a new report from Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), which described this as “stable environmental performance”.

By analysing and interpreting data gathered and monitored by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED), the organisation concluded 75% of the sector’s carbon dioxide emissions were as a result of power generation, with upstream oil and gas operations contributing around 3% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The footprint of the offshore industry made up around 14.65 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases.

The study also highlights 293 accidental oil releases took place, totalling 14 tonnes, which is the lowest annual total since 2011, as well as a 3% drop in the volume of produced water discharged to sea – this refers to water brought up from below the surface, which is often contaminated with chemicals.

OGUK notes 2018 also saw 21,450 tonnes of drill cuttings discharged into the sea, less than the year before, while just under 120,000 tonnes of waste was generated, a 22% yearly fall.

The report does highlight a 39% increase in decommissioning waste over the period, although it adds 72% of this figure was either re-used, recycled or used for power generation.

Louise O’Hara Murray, OGUK’s Environment Manager, said: “Operators are making changes to processes and equipment offshore to continually improve efficiency and emissions performance.

“Alongside this, OGUK is actively working with its members to understand solutions to meet our commitment to the UK’s net-zero ambition by 2050 and the expectations of society whilst maintaining sovereignty of supply.”

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