Photo: Illustration; Source: OGA

OGA: Offshore energy industry can aid UK in reaching net-zero

The integration of offshore energy systems, including oil and gas, renewables, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage, could deliver around 30 per cent of the UK’s total carbon reduction requirements needed to meet the 2050 net-zero target, the OGA said.

UK’s Oil and Gas Authority’s (OGA) Energy Integration Project report highlighted additional potential for offshore renewables – wind, wave, and tidal – to contribute approximately a further 30 per cent towards the UK’s net-zero target.

According to the OGA, the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) could support, in combination with complementary investments in onshore energy infrastructure, around 60 per cent of the UK’s decarbonization requirements.

Andy Samuel; Source: OGA
Andy Samuel; Source: OGA

OGA chief executive Andy Samuel said: “The UK Continental Shelf has the potential to make a deep and meaningful impact on the UK’s overall net-zero target and offshore energy integration can be the game-changer.

By closely co-ordinating our energy systems a secure energy supply can continue to be delivered from a diverse mix of production while unlocking more and more of the green energy and carbon capture needed to help take the UK to net-zero”.

The report made several findings some of which are:

  • Oil and gas platform electrification is essential to cutting sector production emissions in the near term and critical to the industry’s social license to operate. Electrification can abate operational emissions by 2-3MtCO2 per annum by 2030. This is the equivalent of reducing 20 per cent of today’s production emissions, rising to 40 per annum by 2030.
  • Oil and gas capabilities, infrastructure and supply chain are crucial to energy integration, and can potentially support further offshore renewables expansion, including floating wind power.
  • Re-using oil and gas reservoirs and infrastructure can accelerate Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), connecting to onshore net-zero hubs and saving 20-30 per cent Capex on specific projects.
  • To reach the CCS scale in support of net-zero, the UK needs to develop around 20 individual CO2 stores for a total capacity of over 3GtCO2 by 2050 (with large CCS projects featuring multiple stores)
  • Blue hydrogen (produced from natural gas) has the potential to decarbonize around 30 per cent of the UK natural gas supply by 2050, potentially supporting circa half of CCS expansions in the same timeframe.
  • Green hydrogen (from renewables) can support and enable the significant expansion of offshore renewables in the 2030s and beyond, providing an efficient storage and energy transportation solution. Reducing the costs of the technology involved (electrolysis) would be needed to support the faster uptake of this technology.

Minister for Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng added: “It is great to see this report set out a clear path towards net-zero, highlighting that the offshore energy sector has the capacity to help deliver huge carbon reductions.

Sharing existing expertise and infrastructure from the oil and gas industry will be integral in the development of our outstanding renewable energy sector, helping us meet our climate change commitments”.

Paul Wheelhouse; Source: Scottish Gov't
Paul Wheelhouse; Source: Scottish Gov’t

Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse stated: “The oil and gas sector has a key role to play in supporting a just transition to a future with net-zero greenhouse emissions.

This report clearly demonstrates that an integrated offshore energy system, including CCUS, and use of hydrogen, can help Scotland and the UK meet our greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements.

The skills, expertise and infrastructure of the oil and gas sector and its supply chain will be vital in unlocking the opportunities for the integration of offshore energy systems – a key step on Scotland’s own pathway to a greener and fairer economy and society”.

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