High-skilled oil and gas workers and the supply chain will not be left behind in the transition to a low carbon future, the Britain government vowed on Wednesday as a landmark North Sea Transition Deal is agreed with industry.

The sector deal between the UK government and oil and gas industry will support workers, businesses, and the supply chain through this transition by harnessing the industry’s existing capabilities, infrastructure and private investment potential to exploit new and emerging technologies such as hydrogen production, carbon capture usage and storage, offshore wind and decommissioning.

Through the deal, the oil and gas sector, largely based in Scotland and the North East, government and trade unions will work together over the next decade and beyond to deliver the skills, innovation and new infrastructure required to decarbonise North Sea production.

Not only will the deal support existing companies to decarbonise in preparation for a net zero future by 2050, but it will also create the right business environment to attract new industrial sectors to base themselves in the UK, develop new export opportunities for British business, and secure new high-value jobs for the long-term.

Extracting oil and gas on the UK Continental Shelf is directly responsible for around 3.5 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Through the package of measures, the deal is expected to cut pollution by up to 60 million tonnes by 2030, including 15 million tonnes from oil and gas production on the UK Continental Shelf — the equivalent of annual emissions from 90 per cent of the UK’s homes — while supporting up to 40,000 jobs across the supply chain.

Key commitments in the North Sea Transition Deal include: The sector setting early targets to reduce emissions by 10 per cent by 2025 and 25 per cent by 2027 and has committed to cut emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.

Joint government and oil and gas sector investment of up to 16 billion pound by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions. This includes up to 3 billion pound to replace fossil fuel-based power supplies on oil and gas platforms with renewable energy, up to 3 billion pound on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage, and up to 10 billion pound for hydrogen production.

By 2030, the sector will voluntarily commit to ensuring that 50 per cent of its offshore decommissioning and new energy technology projects will be provided by local businesses, helping to anchor jobs to the UK.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Today, we are sending a clear message around the world that the UK will be a nation of clean energy as we build back better and greener from the pandemic.

“We will not leave oil and gas workers behind in the United Kingdom’s irreversible shift away from fossil fuels. Through this landmark sector deal, we will harness the skills, capabilities and pent-up private investment potential of the oil and gas sector to power the green industrial revolution, turning its focus to the next-generation clean technologies the UK needs to support a green economy.”

COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “The UK is once again showing global leadership, and delivering on the Prime Minister’s promise, as we end direct government support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas.

“By supporting green technology and renewable energy through our overseas finance, we will help to drive international growth in low-carbon industries and create new jobs as part of a global green recovery. We invest in our future ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.”

The offshore oil and gas industry has been a major British industrial success story.

For decades, the sector has strengthened its energy security, generated significant tax revenue to fund its public services, and supported hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK.

From the Shetland Islands and Aberdeen, to Teesside and the Humber, the industry is critical to the health of local economies.

–IANS

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