Oil & Gas UK supports transition to low-carbon future

One hundred and ninety five nations signed a historic agreement on climate change on Saturday, where they pledged they would combat the climate change, and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future. 

The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Commenting on the deal signed in Paris, Oil & Gas UK, a representative body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry, said: “Oil & Gas UK supports the transition to the low-carbon future and notes the role its members can play in the progressive decarbonisation of our economy. This must be done responsibly, in acknowledgement of our continuing need for accessible, affordable and reliable energy.

“Substituting coal with natural gas in power generation is one of the fastest, lowest-cost and most secure routes to decarbonisation. Gas-fired generation emits on average less than half the emissions of coal. Oil currently fuels almost all our transport and while alternative technologies are moving forward rapidly, oil will still be an indispensable part of the energy mix for the foreseeable future,” Oil & Gas UK added.

Promoting greater use of natural gas in the UK energy mix and applying carbon abatement technologies at the relevant time to bear down on emissions will help the UK to meet its climate change goals and ensure the optimum balance between security of energy supply, affordability and decarbonisation, Oil & Gas UK said.

Furthermore, the representative body added that, with more than 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent of natural gas and oil still to recover from the UK offshore, the industry is well placed to supply this country with the primary energy it will need as it moves progressively towards the lower-carbon future. The sector currently supports many thousands of jobs in its supply chain, which is uniquely positioned to adapt and evolve in response to the opportunities presented by carbon mitigation technologies and the development of alternative forms of energy.

According to Oil & Gas UK, it should be noted that hydrocarbons are not just a source of energy however. The compounds derived from hydrocarbons are used in hundreds of every-day items, such as medicines, synthetic clothing, computers, mobile phones, fertilisers, furniture and furnishings, cosmetics and toiletries, cleaning products, and plastics, Oil & Gas UK said.

Oil & Gas UK also noted that the UK offshore oil and gas industry looks continuously to improve the carbon efficiency of its own operations. UK upstream greenhouse gas emissions peaked in 1996 (28.3 mt CO2 equivalent) and have declined steadily since 2000 due to the fall in output, improved operational management, tighter regulations, the decommissioning of older, more emission-intensive platforms and the introduction of the EU ETS. In 2014, CO2 emissions from UK offshore oil and gas production contributed less than 3 per cent of total domestic CO2 emissions.

Oil & Gas UK says it expects this trend to continue, albeit at a slower pace, between 2015 and 2030 as resource depletion continues, existing fields and combustion installations are de-commissioned and new more energy efficient fields come on stream.

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