Offshore Energies UK’s 2022 Emissions Report confirms the oil and gas sector is exceeding progress against its emission target with greenhouse gas emissions from the production, transport and processing of North Sea hydrocarbons down by more than 20% since 2018.
However, the report highlights that industry needs the UK government to create the right conditions for it to invest in large-scale emission abatement projects. This is essential for industry to meet the North Sea Transition Deal’s 2030 target of a 50% reduction.
Will Webster OEUK’s energy policy manager, said:
“As the North Sea Transition Authority’s emissions monitoring report confirmed, the oil and gas sector has cut its emissions but more needs to be done if we are to deliver greater reductions.
We must build on the good progress we’ve achieved through actions including platform modifications, streamlining planned shutdowns and investing in ways to rationalise energy consumption. OEUK will continue to secure input from operators and the supply chain to accelerate this change and to ensure flaring, venting reduction and abatement technologies are widely applied across production facilities on the UK Continental Shelf.”
He continued: “If companies are to invest and give the go-ahead for large capital investment projects like replacing gas and diesel with electricity to power offshore platforms, which will significantly cut emissions, they need government help to enable this to happen. Clear regulatory frameworks around offshore network connections, guidance on planning for offshore wind projects and a timely grid connection for oil and gas platform electrification will all play a role in boosting improvements in emission reductions. “
The report’s key findings show that:
- Since the 2018 base year carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane emissions fell from 18.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2 e) to 15.03 million tonnes of (CO2 e).
- Since 2020 the industry has achieved a 12% reduction, marking the second consecutive year in which emissions have decreased.
- Since the 2018 base year, methane emissions are down 36%, with the Methane Action Plan helping companies improve performance.
- Flaring & venting of greenhouse gases is down 36% from 2018 baseline year
- Overall carbon intensity (total UK oil and gas production divided by total carbon emissions) while rising slightly in 2021 from 20.07 kg CO2/boe to 20.81 CO2/boe remains below the intensity of the 2018 baseline.
Emissions Report Summary
The report outlines how most of the oil and gas sector’s emissions come from generating energy from hydrocarbons to power offshore platforms including safety systems, plus electricity and heat for the workforce to ensure a reliable energy supply. The industry’s challenge is to ensure it delivers a managed transition to a lower carbon economy while providing the UK with reliable and secure supplies of North Sea oil and gas.
Fresh investment resulting from the 33rd Licensing Round announced recently by the North Sea Transition Authority will also contribute to these goals. New developments will be lower emission intensity than both the resources they replace, and most imported sources of oil and gas.