New technologies to help integrate the renewables and oil and gas industries could generate more than £2.5 trillion for the UK economy, according to a new report.
‘Closing the Gap: Technology for a Net Zero North Sea’, published by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) today, outlines a roadmap for delivering an integrated net-zero energy system of the UK Continental Shelf and highlights the potential economic opportunities it offers.
Innovations across the renewables and fossil fuels sectors could create more than 200,000 new jobs by 2050, the report said.
The oil and gas sector’s workforce, infrastructure and supply chains could accelerate growth in the renewables sector while supporting its own transition to net zero carbon emissions.
But this would require major investment to accelerate deployment of “crucial technologies” including oil and gas platform electrification, saltwater electrolysis, advanced hydrogen technologies, floating solar and automated inspection technology would cost an estimated £430bn.
OTGC chief executive Colette Cohen said this investment is essential if the UK is to solve “big challenges” around energy storage, transmissions systems and infrastructure redeployment.
“With its decades of energy expertise, the UK has a huge opportunity to become a leading manufacturer, designer, installer and operator of net-zero energy systems,” Cohen said.
“Leveraging our strength in oil and gas, we can also partner with the renewables sector to accelerate the delivery of the next generation of energy in the UK – and internationally.
“This is where governments and industry should focus investment at pace in the coming years.”
The report said that the UK would need to increase its installed offshore wind capacity nearly seven-fold to 75GW to meet 2050 targets.
Oil and gas production must drop from 1.6 million barrels of oil equivalent to 0.7 million barrels of oil equivalent over the same period.
OGTC’s timeline estimated green hydrogen would be a key, interdependent part of an integrated energy system by 2030, with platform electrification, blue hydrogen and hydrogen value chain also playing a significant role by 2040.