First Minister’s pledge to “decarbonise” Scotland supported by oil and gas industry

Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive, Oil & Gas UK
Deirdre Michie, OGUK chief executive

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Nicola Sturgeon’s conference pledge to completely decarbonise Scotland’s energy systems by 2050 will be among the greatest challenges the nation has faced, said OGUK, which represents the UK’s oil and gas industry. 

OGUK welcomed the First Minister’s assertion, in her closing speech to the Scottish National Party (SNP) annual conference, that Scotland must lead the world in “transitioning to the net zero age”, and said the industry was fully committed to playing its part.

Ms Sturgeon said: “A transformation of our national life is required in transport, in how we build and heat our homes and buildings and how we power industry and in how we ensure that the transition is fair.”

She added: “Almost 100% of our gross electricity consumption already comes from renewable sources. By 2030 our aim is to generate 50% of all the energy we use from renewables. By 2050, we intend to have decarbonized our energy system completely.”

Ms Sturgeon’s speech follows the publication of Scotland’s Programme for Government, setting out legislative plans for 2021-22. The programme said of the planned energy transition: “The oil and gas sector has a critical role to play – not just in the economic and employment benefits it brings, locally and nationally, but in the leading part, the industry, infrastructure, workforce and supply chain can play in securing a just transition.”

It also follows last March’s signing of the North Sea Transition Deal, an agreement between the government and the oil and gas industry to move to net zero, including retaining the skilled Scottish workforce needed to build the low carbon energy systems of the future.

OGUK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie OBE said: “Decarbonising Scotland’s economy will be among the most challenging tasks the nation has faced. It will only be achieved with leadership and commitment from policymakers. Our changing industry operates and invests long-term, so we welcome these clear targets and pledges and the earlier announcement of £500m of investment by the Scottish Government to help deliver a fair transition. “Cutting back our greenhouse gas emissions at pace and on such a scale is ambitious. “We will only be able to do it if we also support the companies and people who have the skills to get us there. The North Sea Transition Deal will be essential to achieving all these ambitions.”

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