UK Oil & Gas Looking to Halve Emissions by 2030

The UK’s oil and gas industry sets its goal of halving harmful emissions from exploration and production by 2030.  This goal is in line with the country-wide target of achieving a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.


The oil and gas industry produces around 4% of the total emissions in the UK and that number is exclusive of the total emissions from oil and gas consumption across the country.


The Oil & Gas UK or OGUK has announced its commitment to halve operational emissions from the offshore industry in ten years. This target has been announced in the Pathway to Net Zero: Production Emission Targets report, enumerating measures it is set on implementing to achieve such feat.


New roadmap


The Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) recently published a comprehensive report called The Pathway to Net Zero: Production Emission Targets that expresses the sector’s commitment to helping the country reach its legally-binding targets. The report includes guidelines and important details that will help key players attain industry-wide targets.


The report was published in coordination with the development of the Sector Deal for the oil and gas industry.   OGUK started formal talks with the UK government to establish the transformative deal that has the supply chain, employment, and energy communities at the forefront of the discussions.


The new deal is bound to provide insight into the management of the carbon-intensive sector.  It also bares detailed plans for the industry’s decarbonisation.


Deirdre Michie, the OGUK CEO, stated that the coronavirus crisis put emphasis on the development of a reliable roadmap and the redoubling of efforts to transform the sector positively. She said that the pandemic, along with reduced industry prices, has had adverse effects on the offshore oil and gas industry.


By 2050, over 500,000 tonnes will be set as the allowable figure of emissions for “emergency flaring”, but this amount will be offset using other sectors like forestry.

Some of the measures that have been mentioned in the report include decommissioning outdated and carbon-intensive offshore rigs, reducing venting and flaring progressively, and implementing significant capital investment programmes.


The oil and gas sector eyes its most significant COsavings from the electrification of assets instead of utilising hydrocarbons.

Opposition from eco-groups


Environmental support groups have heavily criticised the oil and gas sector, stating that the new targets only encompass operational emissions and do not include emissions due to the consumption of related products.


However, the industry argued that the continuing demand for oil and gas prompts the importation of fossil fuels, which consequently increases the overall emissions as opposed to domestically sourcing fuels.


Michie is positive that the industry can work to provide the solutions that enable the achievement of the UK’s net-zero economy targets. She said that the new transformational Sector Deal could clear the pathway towards a decarbonised economy by 2050.


The published report focuses on the sector’s critical role in establishing innovative carbon capture usage and storage or CCUS and as well as green hydrogen programmes.

Louise O’Hara Murray, OGUK Emissions Improvement Manager and report author, said that the industry targets would eliminate a COequivalent of more than nine million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions from this year until 2030. This amount is equal to taking off roughly two million cars from the road annually.


Murray said that OGUK would publicise yearly reports to promote transparency for the public. The reports will give a clearer picture of the sector-wide progress in terms of achieving its targets


WWF Scotland’s Lang Banks said that the oil and gas sector should be responsible for the utilisation of its products in addition to ensuring that its operations are green. Fossil fuel dependence should be reduced to create a fair and sustainable action towards addressing the ongoing climate emergency.


Kwasi Kwarteng, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth praised the sector’s commitment to slash its operational emissions by half in ten years, citing the industry’s essential role in the UK’s total energy transition by 2050.