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Campaigners: UK’s Oil, Gas Production Undermines Climate Goals

The UK’s goal to maximize oil and gas recovery from the North Sea will harm the country’s Paris Agreement climate goals, a new report by climate campaign groups showed on Wednesday.   

The UK’s petroleum reserves remain at a significant level, with overall remaining recoverable reserves and resources ranging from 10 to 20 billion barrels plus of oil equivalent, according to the UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA). Currently proven and probable reserves on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) can sustain production for another 20 years.

The UKCS yielded 20 percent more oil and gas in the last five years after 14 consecutive years of production declines, the industry’s association, Oil and Gas UK, said in its latest annual Business Outlook earlier this year.

The UK and Scottish governments, together with oil and gas industry associations, aim to find, develop, and operate reserves that could add a generation of productive life to the North Sea.

But environmental organizations warned in their report published today that the UK would miss the Paris Agreement goals if the industry were to intensify production.

“The UK’s 5.7 billion barrels of oil and gas in already-operating oil and gas fields will exceed the UK’s share in relation to Paris climate goals - whereas industry and government aim to extract 20 billion barrels,” is one of the key findings of the report written by Platform, Oil Change International, and Friends of the Earth Scotland.  

“Recent subsidies for oil and gas extraction will add twice as much carbon

to the atmosphere as the phase-out of coal power saves,” the authors of the report note. 

Related: Saudi Tanker Attack Reveals Oil Market Weakness

The report also recommends that the UK and Scottish governments “Stop issuing licenses and permits for new oil and gas exploration and development, and revoke undeveloped licenses,” among other things, including implementing a plan to transition to clean energy and to a clean energy industry and jobs.

“Climate science is clear that we urgently need to phase out fossil fuels, yet the government and big oil are doing everything they can to squeeze every last drop out of the North Sea. To tackle the climate emergency head on we must ban oil and gas exploration now, and redirect the vast subsidies propping up fossil fuel extraction towards creating decent jobs in a clean energy economy,” Mary Church, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said, commenting on the report.   

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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