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Net Zero Technology Solution Centre – Why now? And why the OGTC?

03 September 2019
Written by Colette Cohen OBE

As world population grows, global energy demand is expected to increase… potentially doubling by 2050. Today, the combustion of fossil fuels remains the largest source of carbon emissions, contributing significantly to anthropogenic global warming. The UK and the international community have made strong commitments to create a net zero carbon economy. Concerns about the planet’s ability to withstand the impact of additional carbon emissions are driving a fundamental transformation across energy supply – leading to a discussion on the need to decarbonise our energy supply.

The oil and gas industry is an enabler for the transition to that low carbon future. It will power the delivery of new wind farms, drive the creation of a hydrogen economy, and enable existing industry and society to live healthy productive lives. But we must also look at how we enable the transition, we must look at our own carbon footprint.

The UK offshore oil and gas industry is a complex and dynamic system of infrastructure, supply chain, specialist workforce, research activity and technology development and deployment. This diverse industrial ecosystem can play a fundamental role in driving and supporting the creation of a net zero carbon economy.

The OGTC Net Zero Solution Centre aims to support the offshore oil and gas industry to develop and deploy technologies to decarbonise operations and diversify its activities to position for a long-term sustainable future as the world’s first net-zero hydrocarbon basin. The Centre will focus on two clear programmes:

1) A cleaner industry: Focused on the development of a cleaner offshore oil and gas industry that contributes to emission reductions. Driving technology that delivers energy efficiency improvements, whilst lowering the sector’s carbon footprint by reducing unnecessary activity, methane gas leaks, waste and operational emissions from flaring and gas turbines, ultimately decarbonising daily operations.

2) Net zero UKCS basin: Where we will develop, de-risk and deploy technologies that can be coupled with other offshore sectors, or industrial activities (renewables, hydrogen production, carbon capture usage and storage and others) to increase the flexibility of the North Sea infrastructure system. The re-use and re-purposing of existing infrastructure and systems will play a key role in delivery of a net zero basin which addresses not only the industry’s 3% emissions footprint, but also provides a service to other industrial clusters, thus contributing to the bigger net zero UK and Scotland goals.

Achieving these two key goals requires a coordinated and aligned set of projects, to be delivered via a private–public collaborative approach. This approach is based on the principle of targeted public money being matched by participating industry partners, combined with academic research capability to deliver results through collaboration.

The OGTC has successfully deployed this collaborative private-public funded partnership since its inception and currently has more than £130million co-invested with industry and over 200 active projects. Ineos, BP, Shell, Total, Chrysaor, Siemens, Aker Solutions, Wood, Equinor, NSMP and CNOOC have partnered with the OGTC to create this new Net Zero Solution Centre, which has also been supported by both the UK and Scottish Governments.

We all need to be champions of this change, embrace the opportunity of building on our industry’s capabilities, skills, assets and infrastructure to position us as not only as an enabling industry for the transition to a low carbon future, but as an industry with a different but critical future in the North Sea.

Our press release has more information about the launch of our Net Zero Solution Centre here.

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