The UK has declined to join a group of nations dedicated to phasing out domestic oil and gas production, dubbed the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA).

The group – which is led by Costa Rica and Denmark, and joined by France, Wales and Sweden – is thought to be the first global coalition of governments to set an end date for all oil and gas exploration and extraction.

A UK Government spokesperson, commenting on the nation’s decision to abstain from joining, said there would likely be an ‘ongoing but diminishing’ demand for oil and gas, so the UK could not commit to phasing out the energy sources entirely.

The spokesperson noted that oil and gas would be necessary as the country works to accelerate its renewable capacity, and added that “no other significant oil and gas producing nation had gone as far as the UK in supporting the sector’s gradual transition to a low carbon future, as demonstrated by our North Sea Transition Deal”.

UK offshore oil and gas representative body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) issued a statement offering its support for Scotland’s decision to also abstain, saying it will in fact safeguard the acceleration of ‘essential green technologies’, as well as employment opportunities.

“While we still need oil and gas, it is far better we meet our own demand with our own resources rather than importing it, which can be far worse for the environment,” said OGUK CEO Deirdre Michie. “Putting an arbitrary end to supply and production would damage livelihoods across Scotland – the same communities whose skills will be vital in helping us achieve a low-carbon economy.”

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BOGA was launched several months after the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its Net Zero by 50 report, in which it said curbing all fossil fuel exploration is the primary means of achieving decarbonisation targets.

In a press release on the group’s establishment, Danish Climate Minister Dan Jørgensen said:

“Science has made it clear – the fossil era needs to come to an end. This is why Denmark has set an end date for oil and gas production. And why we are building this alliance of countries willing to step up to the plate. BOGA will help to spur momentum for countries to phase out their production of oil and gas while creating a clean energy economy.”

Denmark is already a “leader in energy transition,” according to the IEA, with 99% of its energy needs predicted to be met by renewable sources by 2030, and there is hope that through BOGA, other countries will be able to follow this precedent.