North Sea oil and gas must be ready for a ‘green industrial revolution’


The UK is on track to achieve net zero emissions and it will take nothing less than a Green Industrial Revolution to achieve it.

The key is to take the oil and gas industry with us every step of the way, as this key sector – which has brought prosperity to North East Scotland and beyond for generations – has the skills and of technology to keep it at the forefront of green. employment revolution.

Prior to entering politics, I spent over 25 years in the oil and gas industry, so I know firsthand that this is an industry that is ready to adapt and is keenly aware of its challenges. environmental responsibilities.

This morning, I delivered a keynote address at Decom Week, a virtual global gathering of dismantling professionals, and spoke about the Prime Minister’s ambitious 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, which will create and sustain until ‘to 250,000 jobs across the UK. , demonstrating the government’s commitment to revolutionary change.

The plan makes significant commitments in renewable energies, such as offshore wind and in the development of technologies and markets, such as carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, nuclear, maritime and clean transport – on which we have already made good progress six months later. The plan will mobilize £ 12 billion in public investment and stimulate up to three times as much private sector investment by 2030.

Since then, the UK government has taken ambitious steps to advance a green recovery, continuing to support the oil and gas sector in its transition to clean energy and investing more in new and innovative technologies and expanding the economy. renewable energy sector market.

In March, the government announced the successful conclusion of negotiations with Oil & Gas UK on the North Sea Transition Agreement. This is, I believe, a unique and world-leading partnership between government, industry and regulators, and aims to drive our transition to low carbon energy, while supporting the workforce. workforce, supply chain companies and, most importantly, communities.

The agreement will support up to 40,000 high quality direct and indirect jobs in the supply chain in the decarbonisation of UK Continental Shelf production and the carbon capture and hydrogen use / storage sectors. .

“We cannot switch from oil and gas without the oil and gas industry being fully involved.”

The Chancellor announced in his budget additional funding to support jobs and green growth in Scotland, with specific measures being announced for the oil and gas industry to spur innovation and transition.

This includes £ 27million for the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone, an additional £ 5million for the delivery of the Global Underwater Hub to Aberdeen – in addition to the £ 1.3million already guaranteed – and up to £ 2million. of books for the continued development of industry proposals for the agreement.

This follows the UK government’s industrial decarbonisation strategy, which gives clear guidance on how the industry can decarbonize to net zero while remaining competitive and without pushing emissions overseas. And at the same time, an additional £ 31million investment was announced in major offshore and onshore engineering studies, connecting industrial sites in eastern Scotland with access to resources from safe and world-class carbon storage in the North Sea.

The decommissioning is hugely significant and offers both challenges and opportunities, worth around £ 80bn over the next decade and over £ 250bn from 2022. C ‘ is the government’s ambition for the UK that we are able to capitalize on the market opportunity and use that advantage to become a global center of excellence in decommissioning.

There is a wealth of dismantling knowledge, experience and skills that are transportable between industries and exportable – in areas such as well plugging and abandonment, waste management, project consulting, engineering, cost reduction techniques and technological development.

Our UK industry is respected for its skilled workforce, strict regulations and offering the most advanced decommissioning education and training in the world – Aberdeen University offers the only MSc in Decommissioning in the world .

It is clear that as a government we are investing a lot to support the energy sector as a whole and the oil and gas sector in particular. But we recognize that there is still a long way to go and that we need to accelerate progress if we are to meet our net zero goals.

In doing all of this, it is, of course, essential that we continue to remind ourselves that we cannot switch from oil and gas without the oil and gas industry itself being fully involved and that we must continue to working to maintain this productive partnership while maximizing the opportunities to rebuild greener.

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