December 23, 2020

The UK is set to lead the way in demonstrating how oil and gas producing countries can successfully and fairly transition towards a net zero future, OGUK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie OBE has said in a message to members today.

In an end of year message to over 400 member organisations based across  the UK, Deirdre Michie said the stage is now set for 2021 to bring about truly transformational change for the sector to support the country’s net zero ambitions.

Last week the sector’s regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), published its revised strategy, which will look to support companies to reduce emissions and encourage progress on carbon capture and storage and hydrogen.

This revision comes shortly after the UK government published its Energy White Paper, the Scottish Government set out its Climate Change plan and the Committee on Climate Change published its advice to government on the sixth carbon budget.

OGUK also reinforced its concerns about the current challenges facing the sector and its supply chain as they continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing volatility in commodity markets set against the backdrop of a potential no deal scenario at the end of the EU transition period at the end of the year.

OGUK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie OBE said:

Despite the significant challenges we have all faced operationally, economically and personally this year, we have much to proud of. We end the year with industry, government and regulator support for our sector as an enabler to a net zero future.

“In a year where our operations faced sustained challenges, we committed to a detailed emissions reduction pathway and maintained a laser focus on delivering the actions outlined Roadmap 2035. Our people and key workers worked throughout the pandemic to provide the affordable and secure energy and products needed by millions of households across the country.

“Yet, as we are all too aware, the impact of the pandemic and volatile commodity prices has come at a significant cost to many companies, with many jobs affected.

“The stage is now set for a truly transformational period for the people and companies working in our industry. 2021 will be another testing year for us all, including the energy communities and  jobs we need to continue to support. With alignment on our future and the urgent need to stimulate our sector’s recovery in support of this, it must therefore be a year in which we build on these positive developments and help translate strategy into action.

“A North Sea Transition Deal is a unique opportunity to show global leadership and demonstrate how an oil and gas producing country like the UK can successfully transition towards a low carbon future. OGUK is grateful to the many members who have supported the development of this deal  and look forward to progressing this with government early in 2021.

“While we know we don’t have all the answers, it is increasingly accepted that our essential expertise can support the development of hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. The inclusive approach between industry, governments, regulators and the communities we support will remain central to delivering a sustainable and socially accepted transition towards meeting our net zero ambitions.

“The development of a stable and supportive regulatory regime, which aligns with government ambitions is important and industry looks forward to working with the OGA to develop the underpinning guidance to its strategy proposals. We welcome recognition that the UK’s indigenous resources will be important as the country looks to reduce its reliance on imported energy and retain accountability for associated emissions.

“ So against the backdrop of a really tough year for so many, there are some positives that provide solid foundations to build upon, in terms of our contribution to the economy, jobs, energy communities and net zero ambitions. As we a look ahead to a year in which the UK will host the G7 presidency and COP26, it is this commitment to leadership and developing solutions, which will cement our position as a positive partner in the country’s energy future.”