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 blueprints for countries facing similar challenges.
Year: 2021 Current Project
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.
- 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 blueprints for raising ambition in other producing and non-producing countries facing similar oil and gas transition challenges.