Trade body Oil and Gas UK has welcomed the UK Government’s clean growth strategy and vowed to do its bit to prevent global warming.
The long awaited transition programme sets out ways in which to cut carbon emissions but retain growth in sectors such as business, housing, transport and the energy sector.
Mike Tholen, Upstream Policy Director with Oil & Gas UK last night pledged to work with the government to help the North Sea industry play its part in executing the transition to a lower carbon economy.
Experts have previously warned of the dangers of climate change if carbon emissions are not curbed.
They say that there could be drastic global consequences if steps are not taken to keep the world temperatures below a rise of two degrees Celsius.
Mr Tholen said: “The UK offshore oil and gas industry strives to reduce its emissions and CO2 emissions from production have fallen by 30% since 2000 – now accounting for just 3% of total domestic CO2 emissions. This downward trend is expected to continue.
“Oil and gas play a vital role in the UK’s energy mix with our own domestic resources meeting over half of our demand in 2016. Their importance in the UK’s energy mix will continue for decades to come with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy indicating they will continue to meet approximately two thirds demand by 2035.
“With up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas still to recover from the UK Continental Shelf, industry is well placed to provide an indigenous resource to help meet this energy need, whilst supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK.”
The startegy document outlines the UK Governments intention to invest £2.5billion in support of low carbon innovation over a six year timetable which started in 2015 and runs to 2021.
Part of the £2.5billion investment was the announcement of £505million for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme.
The Clean Energy Strategy states that there is the potential for 11% growth year-on-year within low carbon energy business and their supply chains.
Among the announcements within the report there is a commitment to £10million toward low carbon heat innovation within homes and businesses, £20million for a Carbon Capture programme and a further £20million for a low carbon fuel viability programme.
Mr Tholen said that using UK oil and gas reserves would also limit energy imports and secure supply for the future.
He said: “Additionally, meeting demand with domestic hydrocarbons eases our reliance on international resources, ensures we protect security of energy supply and mitigates against carbon leakage.
“Gas has transformed the UK’s power sector in recent years, with a significant coal-to-gas switching in the power mix achieving cost-effective emissions reductions.
“This switching made a major contribution to an estimated 20% fall in UK power sector emissions in 2016, underlining the important role gas should continue to play as part of a cost-effective decarbonisation of the energy system.
“Oil & Gas UK welcomes the government’s commitment to technology in the strategy, especially with regards to carbon abatement measures such as Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage. Oil & Gas UK looks forward to working with the government to see how these technologies can further reduce emissions across the economy.”