Carbon capture and storage

Oil and Gas UK Calls for Urgent Action on Carbon Capture and Storage

Rapid scale-up of CCUS projects is critical to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Low CO2 emission bus
Source: Getty Images.

The leading representative body for the UK’s oil and gas sector is calling for urgent, joint action by government and industry to rapidly scale up low-carbon technologies—particularly those for carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS), and hydrogen development—that are critical to achieving the UK and Scottish governments’ 2050 net-zero emissions timeline.

The Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) Energy Transition Outlook 2019 Report names five key projects across the UK to capture, transport, and store carbon dioxide at scale from heavy-emitting industrial processes, including power plants. These include the Humberside industrial cluster, North East Scotland’s Acorn project, the Teeside Collective, Hynet, and the South Wales cluster. The report also calls for joint action to increase the potential for low-carbon hydrogen to be used as a fuel to heat homes and power cars.

The report outlines progress achieved by the UK’s oil and gas sector over the past year to provide emissions-reducing solutions. However, the report warns, the sector will need to earn its position in the changing energy world, with rapid action required to ensure the sector transforms over the next 30 years while continuing to meet much of the UK’s oil and gas needs from domestic resources.

Among the report’s findings are:

  • The UK’s oil and gas industry is in a unique position to lead in the development of CCUS with the five projects listed above.

  • UK energy sector investment will need to double to achieve a decarbonized economy.

Commenting in the report, OGUK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie said, “The passing of legislation by the UK and Scottish governments to set legally binding targets for net-zero carbon emissions is an enormous milestone for energy policy. Yet the oil and gas sector will have to earn its position in this new energy world, cutting its own emissions and working with governments and regulators to move the five CCUS projects into the next phase.”
“The pace at which the economy must deliver solutions needs to increase,” she continued. “The Climate Change Committee report published at the beginning of this year concluded that an energy transition to net zero in the UK by 2050 is achievable but challenging. CCUS is critical to our net-zero ambitions. The challenge is to realize CCUS and other low-carbon technologies as an opportunity for UK businesses.”

The OGUK report also made clear that the energy transition will not mean immediate reductions in the need for UK-produced oil and gas. Many energy users will still need liquid and gaseous fuels for the foreseeable future, including beyond 2050, for both energy and feedstock. New technologies and new sources of energy will increasingly emerge to co-exist alongside the oil and gas sector.