UK scenarios for the phase-out of oil and gas

In May 2021, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) roadmap for the global energy sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 highlighted that decarbonisation levels aligned with the Paris Agreement do not permit investment in new oil and gas fields. The value chain transitions required as a result will have large-scale implications for the labour forces in a range of sectors and related communities. In the United Kingdom (UK), despite early ambition towards the phase-out of oil and gas, debates remain heated and practical action is slow and scarce. There is, therefore, a pressing need to consider the scenarios by which transitions away from these fossil fuels in the UK might be achieved.

The pathways for any transition must be co-created to ensure stakeholders’ buy-in. Through co-creation, we emphasise that while urgent action is required to meet climate targets and ensure ‘just transition’ outcomes, research and practice need to inform the increasingly important policy mechanisms, which need to have high degrees of both policy efficacy and social acceptability.

This Oil and Gas Transitions report presents the results of a scenario workshop which took place online via Teams over two half days in early May 2022. The research team considered two scenarios for the phase-out of oil and gas: (1) the “median anticipated pathway” and (2) “rapid exit”.