Oil & Gas Transitions

Co-creating evidence to accelerate policy action in the North Sea

Co-led by SEI, this initiative will develop a better understanding of oil & gas transition scenarios for the North Sea region. It will also co-produce just and feasible transition pathways and create roadmaps for countries facing similar challenges.

Visit the initiative’s website to learn more.

Year: 2021 Current Project

  • Overview

    LATEST: Download the new co-produced scenario reports on oil and gas transitions in Norway, Denmark and the UK

    Our initiative aims to generate evidence and co-produced pathways for policy action to accelerate oil and gas transitions in the UK, Denmark and Norway. These three countries have committed to achieving ambitious carbon neutrality targets aligned with limiting global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

    Yet, they are the three top oil and gas producing nations in Europe. Deep transformation of energy systems to transition out of all fossil fuels will be required for their targets to be realised, and while significant progress has been achieved in phasing out coal (i.e., Britain’s reliance on coal for electricity dropping from 70% in 1990 to less than 3% today), we must now turn to the oil and gas sector as the next frontier.

    Oil and gas expansion plans remain in the UK (despite its recently announced North Sea Transition Deal) and Norway, with only Denmark setting a date to phase out the industry. This ‘ambition gap’ between net-zero promises and climate policies, and oil and gas industrial strategies, is the key issue we seek to address.

    Industry, government, and community resistance to the transition is largely founded in concerns regarding its social and economic impacts. Thus, strategies to phase out oil and gas must also be just and equitable. A just and orderly transition will require policy coherence between emissions targets and the provision of policies which support economic diversification strategies, labour market plans, skills training, social security and support for companies in reorienting their business models.

    To respond to this complex research and policy challenge, our initiative will develop a better understanding of oil and gas transition scenarios for the North Sea region; establish buy-in from key stakeholders; and enable collaboration to scale up innovation and early-stage just transition efforts.

  • Objectives

    • Generating evidence of the role of oil and gas in the political economy within the UK, Norway and Denmark, focusing on the need, barriers and opportunities for a just transition.
    • Co-producing just and feasible oil and gas transition pathways to 2050, alongside a diversity of key stakeholders from government, industry, civil society and academia.
    • Drawing lessons from the North Sea to create roadmaps for raising ambition in other producing and non-producing countries facing similar oil and gas transition challenges.

  • Publications

    Research publications:
    • November 10, 2021 – Publication of three reports on the political economy, barriers, opportunities, and key stakeholders of the oil and gas just transition in the UK/Scotland, Norway and Denmark:
      • The Future is Built on the Past: Just Industrial and Energy Transitions in the UK and Scotland
      • Norwegian Oil and Gas Transition: Building bridges towards a carbon neutral future
      • Denmark without Oil and Gas Production: Opportunities and Challenges
    • February 24, 2022 Publication of a report on the barriers and opportunities for the technological transition of the oil and gas sector in the North Sea, with focus on Denmark.
      • North Sea Oil and Gas: Potential Technological Transformation Towards Net-Zero Emissions
    • May 17, 2022 – Publication of a report synthesising OGT’s findings in the North Sea, and placing them into a global setting. It also assessed this region’s just transition policies using a novel scorecard analysis.
      • North Sea Oil and Gas: Transition from a Regional and Global Perspective
    • September 27, 2022 – Publication of three reports on the co-created just transition scenarios from oil and gas in the UK/Scotland, Norway and Denmark, identifying key milestones and intervention points as well as recommendations for policymakers.
      • Living in the present, making the future: UK scenarios for the phase-out of oil and gas
      • Petroleum Transition Pathways in Norway: How do Norwegian stakeholders envision pathways to net-zero and phase-out for the country’s oil and gas sector?
      • Why wait until 2050? Exploring possible scenarios for phasing out oil and gas production faster than planned in the Danish North Sea


    Engagement and outreach:
    • June 30, 2021 Webinar during London Climate Action Week 2021.
    • September 17, 2021 – Op-ed on the role of the North Sea in the oil and gas transition published in FORESIGHT Climate & Energy
    • September 27, 2021 – Presentation at Denmark’s 2030 Countdown Conference.
    • November 10, 2021 – Brought the spotlight onto oil and gas during COP26 with a well-attended event in the Danish Pavilion, on “Oil and Gas as the Next Climate Frontier”. Oil and gas were conspicuously absent from the formal COP26 agenda, making this one of highlights of the programme for the oil and gas transition community. It was followed by a dinner with representatives from leading organisations working on oil and gas transitions from academia, government and civil society.
    • November 10, 2021 – Raised ambition among the international academic community by partnering with the Climate Policy Journal to launch a call for papers for a special issue on “Net zero oil and gas value chains: Just transitions by 2040”. The special issue will be published by the end of 2022.
    • November 25, 2021 – Op-ed on the COP26 and the EU’s energy crisis published in 2021 SEB Green Bond Report.
    • June 15, 2022 Response submitted to the UK Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry on Accelerating the transition from fossil fuels and securing energy supplies’.
    • September 19-20, 2022 North Sea Transition Workshop hosted by OGT in Dundee, Scotland, to discuss the co-created just transition pathways, and promote cross-country learning and opportunities among key stakeholders from the UK, Norway and Denmark.
    • September 26-27, 2022 – OGT-hosted session at SEI International Conference on Fossil Fuel Supply and Climate Policy.
    • October 19, 2022 Hybrid eventElectrify or phase out Norwegian oil” hosted by OGT partners in Norway, Fafo and FNI, to launch the report on the national co-created just transition scenarios and policy brief.
    • October 20, 2022 – Op-ed on how the North Sea can lead the global charge for a just energy transition published in Recharge.
    • October 21, 2022 – Op-ed on the role of addressing North Sea oil and gas to mitigate the energy crisis on Energy Voice.
    • November 14, 2022 – Well-attended event at COP27 in the Danish Pavilion “From Oil and Gas to Wind: A Global Pathway for the Just Transition or a Danish Success Story?”, which highlighted the pioneering role of Denmark in setting a phase out date and explored the relevance of its trajectory for other producing countries such as Norway, the UK, Nigeria, Colombia and Egypt.
    • November 22, 2022 – Op-ed on the need for a transformative narrative for oil and gas in Norway that is climate credible and socially acceptable on Debatt.
    • December 12, 2022 – Contribution to article on the results of COP27 for oil and gas for the Petroleum Economist.
    • December 16, 2022 – Article on the need for concrete and participatory phase out pathways for the North Sea to deliver on energy security, just transition and climate goals on Fuel Oil News.

  • Partners

    Partners of the initiative include:

    SEI Logo
    University of Edinburgh

    Aalborg University Logo
    Fridtjof Nansen InsituteFAFO logo