UK oil regulator outlines plans for net zero emissions by 2050

7 May 2020 (Last Updated May 7th, 2020 16:27)

UK industry regulator the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has called for the UK offshore industry to help the government achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target by 2050.

UK oil regulator outlines plans for net zero emissions by 2050
OGA is working with government and industry to progress carbon footprint reduction initiatives. Credit: Michael Elleray.

UK industry regulator Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has called for the UK offshore industry to help the government achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target by 2050.

The OGA said its established goal of maximising economic recovery (MER) of remaining oil and gas can be compatible with the transition to net zero. It said the industry has the skills, technology, and capital needed to devise suitable solutions to achieve the target.

However, it believes the industry should also go further in reducing its own carbon footprint or risk ‘losing its social license to operate’.

OGA chief executive Andy Samuel said: “The government’s commitment to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 provides an opportunity to the oil and gas industry, which should be well placed to play a leading role.

“To support this drive, we are now reviewing our strategy. This is further complemented with our other work such as benchmarking flaring and venting data to drive performance improvements; supporting work to unlock energy integration opportunities; and supporting CCS and hydrogen projects.”

The association has opened proposed revisions to its strategy of net zero emissions to consultation. It says the changes proposed in the consultation, and concepts assessed in the UKCS energy integration project, could make a significant contribution to achieving net zero.

The oil regulator claims that the target can be achieved both through carbon capture and storage (CCS) and CCS plus hydrogen.

Currently, OGA is working with government and industry to progress carbon footprint reduction initiatives such as electrification and energy efficiency.

UK energy and clean growth minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “I share the Oil and Gas Authority’s view that encouraging and supporting the sector to minimise carbon emissions will be increasingly important as we emerge from Covid-19 and focus on supporting a clean recovery of our economy.”

Last October, UK OGA gave approval for the Pierce project development in the Central North Sea.

In July last year, OGA released its first Wells Strategy that provides a framework for the OGA and industry to work together for delivering increased activity and improved performance.