In addition to oil and gas, Offshore Energies UK will champion low-carbon offshore energy technologies, including carbon capture and storage, hydrogen production and offshore wind energy.
OIL & Gas UK (OGUK) changes name to Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) and expands to include offshore low-carbon energy technologies being developed by its members.
However, environmentalists are not convinced that the new direction will really change the sector for the better.
While the representation will continue to advocate for the oil and gas sector, it will also support those interested in carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen production, offshore wind energy and other low-carbon technologies. It will work with regulators, policymakers and stakeholders to advocate for the offshore energy industry and help achieve a controlled transition to the UK’s climate targets.
Diedre Michie, CEO of OGUK, said the organization will be a unifying voice for the offshore sector, which is changing “rapidly and positively”.
Existing members are already involved in low-carbon projects across the country, including the Acorn project, which is building CCS and hydrogen infrastructure essential to help meet the Scottish and UK governments’ net-zero targets; Zero Carbon Humber projects aiming to transform the Humber region into a net zero carbon cluster; and Net Zero Teesside, a cluster of industrial, energy and hydrogen companies aiming to decarbonize through the use of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).
Michie said: “Our members are investing in cleaner energy, advancing the technologies needed to support jobs, communities and the UK’s energy security – and to fuel the transition to low-carbon energy[…]This is a natural next step for our organization which builds on our tradition of proudly serving the UK oil and gas industry.
“Expanding our representation to the renewable and low-carbon industries will better reflect the agility of the companies involved in energy generation. We share the same interests, determination and ambition to deliver an integrated net-zero energy system that is cleaner and greener, but also safe and sustainable.”
Secretary of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change Greg Hands said: “The new name reaffirms the importance of the wide range of offshore energy technologies in achieving net zero and reflects the important role OEUK is playing in the North Sea Transition Deal will support the sector’s highly skilled workforce and supply chain in the transition to a lower carbon future.”
The UK Government and OGUK signed the North Sea Transition Agreement in March 2021.
Ryan Morrison, Just Transition Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “With this change, oil and gas companies are realizing their decades of delay and climate change denial have destroyed their reputation in the eyes of people across the UK.
“They could change their name, but they are highly unlikely to stop lobbying for more oil and gas that is destroying our common future and undermining efforts to create a just transition to renewable energy.”
The new direction follows a year-long strategic review and takes effect on February 14. It was approved by members at a general meeting in December 2021.