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Oil and gas sector “losing its social licence to operate”, UK industry boss warns

Tim Eggar, Chairman, Oil & Gas Authority

PortandTerminal.com, January 19, 2020

“Clearly, climate change is happening right now. That debate is over,”

ABERDEEN – Tim Eggar, chairman of the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), in the UK sent shockwaves through the industry on Wednesday (15 January) when he said growing public awareness about climate change was putting the sector’s very survival at stake.

Shifting public attitudes towards climate change is “the biggest challenge” facing the oil and gas industry, Eggar said in a speech to industry leaders this week.

“Clearly, climate change is happening right now. That debate is over,” he told industry delegates in Aberdeen, according to a transcript of his speech published on the OGA’s website.

The oil and gas industry should be the leader in developing some of the solutions to tackling climate change, rather than continuously being seen as the problem or the blocker.

Tim Eggar, chairman of the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA)

The oil and gas industry must “act much, much faster and go farther in reducing the carbon footprint” he said, adding: “This requires ambitious thinking, capital investment and bold leadership. Action not just talk or more analysis.”

READ: BP’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy is terrifying

Failing to do so would have dire consequences for the oil and gas sector, Eggar warned, saying the industry’s very survival is at stake.

“The licence to operate for the industry has changed fundamentally and – unlike the oil price – forever,” he said. “If the industry wants to survive and contribute to the energy transition it has to adapt,” he stressed.

Ahead of the COP26 climate conference later this year, he suggested industry would need to develop a package of measures, including:

  • The offshore industry to commit to clear measurable greenhouse gas targets, with real progress on methane.
  • To show progress on carbon capture and storage, including work having started on major projects.
  • Measurable progress on energy integration opportunities – for example, an electrification project.
  • An acceleration of the move to ensure there is a diverse array of skills and people for the long-term energy offshore and supply industry.

“Real leadership right now is vital if industry is to convince the public and politicians of our relevance; if we do not do so we cannot hope to thrive, compete for talent or continue to access capital.” he went to say.

READ: Extinction Rebellion isn’t asking. They’re demanding and putting big oil on notice

Tim Eggar was appointed as Chairman in March 2019. He is a highly experienced non-executive Chair and Board Director, including in the oil and gas sector and the wider energy sector. He was a government minister for 11 years, and Energy Minister between 1992 and 1996. 

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