The North Sea oil and gas industry could play a significant role in the transition to cleaner energy, according to a new report.
Turning the Tide, a paper by PwC and Oil and Gas UK, sets out how the sector could move towards low-carbon production and set a precedent for a greener future.
It argues alternative-use infrastructure could be used for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology and the production of hydrogen.
The report is based on interviews with more than 20 key energy industry stakeholders, highlighting how recent changes in ownership have seen independents and private equity-backed firms gain a strong position in the region.
Drew Stevenson, energy sector leader at PwC UK, said: “There is a necessary urgency to move to a low-carbon world.
“As our report illustrates, there is huge potential for the North Sea to play a significant role in the energy transition, setting a precedent for facilitating the move to a clean energy future.
“The appetite exists for the North Sea energy industry to play a significant role in the transition.
“Investor sentiment is rapidly becoming more committed to low carbon technologies while smaller exploration and production companies are looking at ways to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations.
“All of this creates an opportunity for the North Sea to lead the way in the energy transition.”
CCUS is the practice of capturing the carbon dioxide released by industrial sources such as power stations and burying it deep underground.
Infrastructure is already in place across the region that could be used to store the gas through depleted oil and gas fields, according to the paper.
It adds that the North Sea can play an important role in a technology that is seen as a way of helping to reduce carbon emissions.
The report also argues the region could be important for hydrogen production, storage and transportation, whether by converting natural gas into hydrogen or through electrolysis, using offshore wind-generated energy.