Move will support oil and gas industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encourage progress on carbon capture and storage and hydrogen projects

  • The OGA is embedding the net zero challenge in its own work, and supporting the industry as it rises to this challenge
  • Oil and gas will remain an important part of the UK energy mix for the foreseeable future, and maximising economic recovery from the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) is vital to meet UK energy demand
  • The OGA is seeking views on its proposed revised strategy, which is now open for consultation

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has today (Wednesday 6 May 2020) signalled its intention to refresh its core aim, including a requirement for industry to help the government achieve the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The OGA believes that maximising 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 to help unlock solutions required to help the UK achieve the net zero target.

However, the OGA takes the view that industry should go considerably faster and farther in reducing its own carbon footprint, or risk losing its social licence to operate.

The changes proposed in the consultation, alongside the concepts assessed in the OGA’s UKCS energy integration project, have the potential to make a significant contribution to achieving Net Zero; both through Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) and through CCS plus hydrogen. Offshore renewables (wind, wave and tidal) should contribute further to the abatement required by 2050.

Official forecasts suggest that oil and gas will remain a vital part of the UK’s energy mix as we move towards net zero. This means that managing declining North Sea production to maximise value, minimising greenhouse gas emissions and reducing reliance on hydrocarbon imports are all essential.

The energy transition requires industry to make real progress in reducing its carbon footprint through emissions reductions initiatives, including electrification, and energy efficiency measures.

The OGA is continuing to work closely with government and industry to support the delivery of these measures, as well as other solutions including CCS and hydrogen.

Dr Andy Samuel, OGA Chief Executive, said:

There are major issues facing the oil and gas industry - the global pandemic and the rapid fall in commodity prices - and we’re working closely with the government to safeguard the energy supply and as best as possible the thousands of jobs and skills which deliver it, in the face of these issues.

“Even before these issues emerged, the industry was facing questions about its ‘social licence to operate’ regarding its role in climate change and changing public opinion.

“The government’s commitment to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 provides an opportunity to the oil and gas industry, which should be well placed to play a leading role.

“To support this drive, we are now reviewing our Strategy. This is further complemented with our other work such as: benchmarking flaring and venting data to drive performance improvements; supporting work to unlock energy integration opportunities; and supporting CCS and hydrogen projects.”

Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng said:

This new strategy is welcome because all parts of our energy system – and our economy – need to adapt if we’re to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050.

“I share the Oil and Gas Authority’s view that encouraging and supporting the sector to minimise carbon emissions will be increasingly important as we emerge from COVID-19 and focus on supporting a clean recovery of our economy.”


Notes to Editors:

Please visit to download the consultation document.

The new proposed aim, or Central Obligation of the OGA Strategy, is:

Relevant persons must, in the exercise of their relevant activities, take the steps necessary to:

a) secure that the maximum value of economically recoverable petroleum is recovered from the strata beneath relevant UK waters; and, in doing so,

b) take appropriate steps to assist the Secretary of State in meeting the net zero target, including by reducing as far as reasonable in the circumstances greenhouse gas emissions from sources such as flaring and venting and power generation, and supporting carbon capture and storage projects.

The revised strategy also proposes changes to the Supporting Obligations. The Supporting Obligations relate to work undertaken around development, asset stewardship, technology, decommissioning and introduces a new supporting obligation in relation to carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.

For more information, please contact or or 0300 020 1072.