The report, by PwC and Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), highlights areas such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology, aided by the alternative use of infrastructure, and the production of hydrogen.
Experts argue that the North Sea has the potential to become a “global showcase” for energy transition as a number of low carbon technologies grow in prominence, with partnership models becoming critical for the future of the basin.
The study – entitled Turning the Tide: the Transformation of the North Sea – is based on interviews with more than 20 senior executives working in the North Sea energy sector. It lays out the challenges facing the area as the world moves towards a low carbon future.
Drew Stevenson, energy sector leader at PwC UK, said: “There is a necessary urgency to move to a low carbon world. As our report illustrates, there is huge potential for the North Sea to play a significant role in the energy transition, setting a precedent for facilitating the move to a clean energy future.
“The appetite exists for the North Sea energy industry to play a significant role in the transition: investor sentiment is rapidly becoming more committed to low carbon technologies while smaller exploration and production companies are looking at ways to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations. All of this creates an opportunity for the North Sea to lead the way in the energy transition.”
Mike Tholen, upstream policy director at the OGUK, added: “The transition to a lower carbon, diverse energy mix is an exciting opportunity for our transforming industry. With extensive skills, capabilities and infrastructure, we are well placed to support the development of low carbon technologies such as CCUS and hydrogen while reducing emissions from production operations.
“Roadmap 2035: A blueprint to net zero, sets out a future vision for our industry to ensure it remains at the heart of the global energy landscape as it continues to change.
“Through safe, sustainable and socially accepted operations and securing government support for the delivery of the roadmap, this report underlines how the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry can help unlock a fair and inclusive transition to a low carbon future.”
The report notes that the transformation of the North Sea over the last four years has been driven by two main factors – major cost-cutting measures in a bid to improve efficiency, while a number of new players have brought “more dynamism to the basin”, helping to drive investment to £3.3 billion in 2018.