The country’s oil and gas industry responds to the Minister’s Programme for Government, asserting that by working together Scotland can become a leading example for how countries can manage a green energy transition
In its response to the First Minister’s statement on her Programme for Government, the UK offshore oil and gas industry endorsed her ambitions on climate and said Scotland had the potential to not only show leadership on hitting net zero emissions, but show other countries the path to achieve it.
Deirdre Michie, CEO of OGUK, the representative body for the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, said that this means “reaching our climate goals in a way that leaves no one behind, from the millions of people who need access to cleaner and affordable energy, as well as the tens of thousands of people whose jobs and livelihoods depend on the oil and gas sector.”
The First Minister described her Government’s ambition to ‘show real leadership on the climate crisis’ and to ‘confront with urgency the climate emergency in a way that captures maximum economic benefit.’
OGUK said its people have the energy skills that are essential to tackle the climate emergency and are dedicated to accelerating the roll-out of homegrown greener energies, as set out in the landmark North Sea Transition Deal this year.
Last year 73% of the country’s energy was provided by oil and gas. OGUK pointed out that oil and gas will continue to be needed to keep Scotland running – albeit with substantially reduced emissions, and while oil and gas companies are also accelerating crucial homegrown greener energies.
OGUK said it looked forward to working with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders in developing and implementing the ‘sectoral Just Transition Plans’. The industry body reiterated the need for a managed energy transition to protect Scottish jobs and the essential skills needed to deliver the future low carbon energy mix.
OGUK also noted the Scottish Government’s £500m investment to ‘promote good and green jobs, address skills gaps… and help people retrain’ as a welcome and supportive measure.
The industry also highlighted two other aims detailed by the First Minister that its companies can play a key role in achieving, when she expressed the need to ‘act fast to decarbonise heat and transport.’
OGUK pointed to the production and supply of hydrogen its companies are developing that can help the Scottish Government achieve its objective of the ‘decarbonisation of 1 million homes by 2030,’ as well as the potential for hydrogen vehicles, such as the pilot of the first hydrogen-powered train cited in the First Minister’s speech, to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of Scotland’s transport.
Supporting up to 33% of all Scottish jobs directly and across the supply chain, the sector is expected to generate £19 billion in gross value added, whilst supporting 71,500 jobs in 2021.
OGUK CEO Deirdre Michie said: “We back the First Minister’s commitment to show real leadership on the climate crisis in her Programme for Government presented to Parliament today. This means reaching our climate goals in a way that leaves no one behind, from the millions of people who need access to cleaner and affordable energy as well as the tens of thousands of people whose jobs and livelihoods depend on the oil and gas sector.
“The changing oil and gas sector is already harnessing its skills to accelerate the homegrown greener energies this country will need to cut emissions across all key energy-intense industries, as well as our own.
“We have a clear plan set out in the North Sea Transition Plan, which we believe will be held up as an exemplar for how countries around the world can meet their Paris Agreement commitments and hit their net zero emissions targets.
“The Scottish Government has a dedicated partner in helping achieve its ambitions of becoming net zero by 2045. We are eager to work with all parties to create a carbon neutral future, as well as a new generation of green energy jobs in communities across Scotland that need them.”