Sturgeon: no support for unlimited oil and gas

The Scottish Government “will no longer support unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons including oil and gas,” according to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party Agreement has set out the position that countries around the world — including the UK — cannot continue “with unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons if the aims of the Paris Agreement are to be met.”

The focus will now be on achieving the “fastest possible just transition” for the oil and gas sector.

In a speech to students and Strathclyde University, Sturgeon set out plans for an analysis of Scotland’s energy needs to be undertaken taken to determine how the energy sector can help deliver our contribution to the Paris targets.

The First Minister’s speech follows a warning on September 1 from powerful trade group Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), the representative body for the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry.

OGUK said the UK is facing a “stark energy choice” in which it must invest in its offshore oil and gas industry “to build energy security, jobs, and a managed green transition” – or rely on other countries for its energy needs.

OGUK said the UK still gets 73% of its total energy from oil and gas, with the UK Continental Shelf providing around 70% of this demand.

It said that between now and 2050, half the UK’s energy will still need to come from oil and gas.

According to the annual Economic Report from OGUK, the UK’s gas imports hit a record high in winter 2021 – underlining “the need to manage the UK’s transition to green energy while minimising reliance on other countries.”

The report found that the UK had to import 56% of the gas needed to keep British homes warm and its power stations running between January and March this year.

Sturgeon told the students: “We must accept that unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons is not consistent with meeting the aims of the Paris Agreement.

“The transition to net zero can and will bring many opportunities for economic and environmental progress.

“Our commitment to supporting a Just Transition for Scotland, and for the oil and gas sector, will ensure that we assist the workforce to capture those future opportunities.

“In Scotland, our just transition will put fairness for workers and communities front and centre.

“That focus on justice and fairness will be central to Scotland’s approach to COP26.”

Minister for Zero Carbon Housing Patrick Harvie said: “Global inaction on the climate emergency must not be allowed to continue.

“Even though the most optimistic outcome of COP26 would mean actions are being taken which could, if not should, have been taken years ago, we can still limit the harm of our past and present environmental destruction if we commit ourselves to immediate action on the scale that’s needed.

“The Scottish Government recognises that unlimited fossil fuel extraction, or ‘maximum economic recovery’, is incompatible with climate action.

“Scotland, and the world, can have a sustainable future and a fairer more equal basis for shared prosperity, but only if we leave the economy of the past behind us, and build a greener economy.”