The UK Government has agreed on North Sea Transition Deal with the offshore oil and gas industry to help the sector transition to a low-carbon future while supporting workers, businesses, and the supply chain.
The deal supports continued oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and targets 10% reductions in offshore production emissions by 2025, 25% by 2027, and 50% by 2030, against a 2018 baseline.
The UK Government aims to achieve net-zero emission by 2050.
The government has agreed to invest between £14bn to £16bn over the next decade to help the industry meet its emissions reduction target.
This includes £3bn to replace fossil fuel-based power supplies with renewable energy on oil and gas platforms, up to £3bn for carbon capture and storage projects, and up to £10bn for hydrogen production technologies.
UK Business and Energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Through this landmark sector deal, we will harness the skills, capabilities and pent-up private investment potential of the oil and gas sector to power the green industrial revolution, turning its focus to the next-generation clean technologies the UK needs to support a green economy.”
Additionally, the government intends to continue to issue drilling licences for future exploration.
However, the licences are required to be compatible with the UK’s climate change objectives.
To ensure the future licences comply with wider climate objectives, the UK Government will implement a new Climate Compatibility Checkpoint prior to each of the future oil and gas licensing rounds.
However, the deal is being opposed by environmental groups.
Commenting on the deal, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s just transition campaigner Ryan Morrison said: “This announcement and the details of the North Sea deal lets the polluting corporations controlling the oil and gas industry off the hook and badly fails workers and communities by failing to plan for a well managed and just transition in line with climate science.
“The government must set an end date for oil and gas extraction in the UK and focus on engaging with workers and communities to build a plan for a new renewable energy future, backed up by investment from redirecting the vast public subsidies going to fossil fuels, to build a socially just zero-carbon economy.”