The roadmap published by Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) follows “extensive engagement” with more than 2,500 industry stakeholders and reinforces the importance of the sector to the UK’s economy and to meeting the energy needs of consumers.
It has set out key themes requiring industry, government and regulator action to ensure the sector can continue to provide secure energy supply while supporting the net zero targets.
That includes co-ordinating activities to reduce emissions from oil and gas production, which currently accounts for 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and understanding how the sector can play a key role in developing and commercialising technologies such as carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen.
However, it insists oil and gas will be required for decades to come, helping reduce imports and highlights the Committee on Climate Change’s forecast that the UK will still consume around 65 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year – roughly 45% of current demand – in 2050.
It suggests. therefore, that the deployment of low carbon technologies like CCUS and hydrogen are essential.
OGUK Chief Executive Deidre Michie said: “Roadmap 2035 shows an industry in action with a credible plan for the future. 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. We are ready to work with others in developing some of the new solutions the UK needs and the Net Zero Solutions Centre is a great example of this.
“The facts outlined in our report evidence that our industry remains a vital economic asset and is uniquely positioned to help the UK meet its net zero ambitions and energy needs in the years to come. We now need a comprehensive UK energy strategy which recognises the continued role of oil and gas in a diverse energy mix and positions us to support net zero.”
She added the reports shows the offshore oil and gas industry is already playing an “active role” in the transition to a more diverse energy mix, with many of its members investing in renewables and developing new technologies.
Ms Michie siad: “Roadmap 2035 offers a blueprint for how we can continue to meet much of the UK’s oil and gas needs from domestic resources, progressively reduce associated production emissions and develop economy-wide decarbonisation technologies. With 40,000 new people needed in our industry, a quarter of whom will be in roles which don’t currently exist, it is an industry with an exciting future.
“It’s why we must continue to focus on improving the sustainability of the basin. This sector has seen a remarkable turnaround from one of the harshest declines in memory, however significant parts of the supply chain remains in a fragile condition.
“Our Economic Report 2019 shows a greater proportion of UK demand being met from domestic production, exploration and drilling activity on the increase and a continued pipeline of new projects emerging. We need to build on this investment to encourage new fields to be developed to replace those coming to the end of their life. This will ensure as much as possible of UK demand is met from our own resources.”