Offshore Europe 2019, Day 3: North Sea welcomes road map to net-zero oil and gas


ABERDEEN - The oil and gas industry has welcomed a roadmap, which will see the North Sea support aims for the UK to become a net zero carbon economy by 2050—and by 2045 in Scotland.

See the full Offshore Europe Show Daily -  Day 3 PDF here.

SPE Offshore Europe 2019 hosted a breakfast event for the launch of Roadmap to 2035: A Blueprint for net-zero, which sets out how the North Sea industry can support net-zero ambitions while also ensuring the security of the UK’s energy supply.

Ross Dornan, market intelligence manager for Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), the trade body which produced the plan, said the oil and gas industry will play a key role in the delivery of net-zero carbon by maintaining focus on cost efficiencies and cutting its own carbon footprint.

Discussing the launch of OGUK’s annual economic report, which featured the roadmap, he insisted that a net-zero carbon UK would still need to maximise economic recovery of hydrocarbons from the North Sea, as indigenous supply would still be required to meet demand even into 2050. He said, “One of the things that is crucial to emphasise is maximising economic recovery can be compatible with the drive to net zero.”

Task ahead. Operators will be required to aggressively reduce the carbon intensity of offshore  operations. Dornan said North Sea oil and gas produces 24,000 per 1 MMbbl of oil produced and that this would need to be reduced to 4,000 tonnes per million barrels to meet target—an 85% reduction. Dornan said, “Make no mistake that is a huge challenge for industry.”

To do this, operators would urgently have to adopt electrification of platforms, as well as look to reduce or eradicate flaring. Robin Allan, director of North Sea and Exploration for Premier Oil, highlighted that his firm has been publishing emissions data for many years, and has designed its Tolmount gas field in the Southern North Sea to have amongst the lowest emissions in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). The project was sanctioned last year and is expected to produce first gas end of next year.

Fiona McKie, senior vice president of Wood, said, “We have to collectively get behind this roadmap. It is great to have the road map there with tangible goals. It is a fabulous day for the industry to see it published in that way. Allan said, “The roadmap makes it very clear that UK demand for oil and gas and exceeds our ability to supply it. There will be a domestic industry for a very long time. But it also sets up need for supply chain, in particular, to look beyond the UK and use it as a springboard for exports. It is reassuring for to know that we have plenty of long-term careers ahead of us, and it is important we take it to the world and export it.”

Fixing perceptions. Chris Ayres, COO for OPEX Group, said, “We need to get really good at telling stories. We have relied on the oil and gas industry, and there is inertia there that has traditionally affected people. “We need to become great story tellers to talk about exciting things we have done and the challenges we have faced.”

Andy Hessell, managing director of Kellas Midstream, said: “The Roadmap is a good balance between the different facets of our industry—as well as outlining the challenges and opportunities. Somebody said to me yesterday that 2035 is not very far off in the future—15 years is not very far away. So we need to be acting now, we can’t wait for it to happen.” Whether it is energy transition or any of the other opportunities, we need to be acting now.”

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