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The UK’s North Sea Emissions Fall Even As Oil And Gas Production Rises

Carbon dioxide emissions from oil and gas operations in the UK’s North Sea shelf declined for a third consecutive year in 2022 even as production grew, Bloomberg reported, citing a report from the North Sea Transition Authority.

The industry association, whose former name was the Oil and Gas Authority, said in the report that carbon dioxide emissions in the region shed 3% last year, adding to a cumulative decline of 23% since 2018.

Bloomberg, however, made a point of adding that the report did not take into account the so-called Scope 3 emissions, or the emissions from using an end product of the oil and gas industry, such as gasoline or engine oil. These, the report said, had probably grown alongside production. On the other hand, with improving fuel efficiency in new engines, there is also a chance Scope 3 emissions also fell like Scope 1 emissions.

The UK’s oil and gas industry plans to slash emissions from production activities by 25% by 2027 and as much as 50% by 2030. The latter target will be harder to hit, the North Sea Transition Authority admitted.

Meanwhile, however, crude oil production from the North Sea has fallen to a record low, the Daily Mail reported last week, citing data from the Department of Energy.

Per that data, oil output from the North Sea in the UK stood at 17.4 million tons for the first six months of the year. That compared with 20 million tons for the first half of 2022 and close to 50 million tons back in 2003.

The production decline is at least partly attributable to the windfall profit tax that the UK government instituted last year, which made oil and gas operators in the North Sea reconsider their investment plans. The government tried to make up for it by offering several hundred new oil and gas licenses but the industry remains reluctant to bet much on the North Sea.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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