The NSTA is committed to helping the UK government reaching its goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and we have refreshed our core Strategy to integrate net zero and develop benchmarking to monitor emissions performance.

As a result, the NSTA is challenging industry to reduce its carbon footprint through initiatives including electrification and energy efficiency initiatives. The NSTA are working closely with government and industry to support these measures, as well as other solutions including Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and hydrogen.

The NSTA believe that economic recovery of oil and gas need not be in conflict with the transition to net zero and that the industry has the skills, technology and capital required to help the UK achieve the target. The NSTA also takes the view that the industry must go faster and farther in reducing its own carbon footprint, or risk losing its social licence to operate.  As a result, the NSTA have challenged industry to deliver quicker action to ensure progress in several areas including:

  • To commit to clear, measurable greenhouse gas targets, with real progress on methane.
  • To show progress on carbon capture and storage, including work having started on major projects.
  • Deliver measurable progress on energy integration opportunities – for example, an electrification project.
  • Accelerating efforts to ensure there is a diverse array of skills and people for the long-term energy offshore and supply industry.

Since setting this challenge there has been welcome progress in a number of areas.

Emissions reduction

The NSTA welcome the oil and gas industry’s commitment to becoming a net zero emissions basin by 2050 and halving operational emissions in the next decade.

It is crucial that industry must maintain efforts to reduce its own footprint and also stay focused on reducing emissions in the near term. Therefore, NSTA have incorporated these targets into our data benchmarking to monitor progress.

Gas footprint of domestically produced gas

NSTA has published analysis which shows that domestically produced gas is on average almost four times cleaner than importing gas in LNG form. This is because of both the way the gas is transferred and, in some cases, the methods of extraction.

In particular the analysis shows that gas extracted from the UKCS has an average emission intensity of 21 kgCO2/boe; whereas imported LNG has a significantly higher average intensity of 79 kgCO2/boe.

Energy Integration

As of July 2022, there are over 30 energy integration projects already underway across the UKCS, with the majority actively being engaged by the NSTA. The integration of offshore energy systems, including oil and gas, renewables, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, could contribute to deliver approximately 30% of the UK’s total carbon reduction requirements needed to meet the 2050 net zero target.  For further details please click here.

Operator 'Deep Dives' and asset stewardship expectation

We have already completed a number of deep dives’ with operators to understand their net zero plans and have added a net zero stewardship expectation [and updating the others where relevant] to reflect the new regime set out in our new core Strategy.

The framework underpinning the move to net zero carbon

Legislative framework

In 2019 the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. The target requires the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels. The legislation can be viewed here. The relevant legislation, passed by the Scottish Government, setting a 2045 target for net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases, can be viewed here.

In 2021, the UK Government published the North Sea Transition Deal, which sets out an ambitious plan for how the UK’s offshore oil and gas sector and the government will work together to deliver the skills, innovation and new infrastructure required to meet stretching greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

Climate Change Committee

An independent statutory body, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), was established under the UK Climate Change Act 2008 to provide regular advice to the UK Government and devolved administrations on setting and meeting emissions targets and preparing for climate change. It also monitors and reports on the progress made to Parliament.