Achieving Net Zero emissions: The oil and gas industry is a major component of the solution

Astley Hastings* (Corresponding Author), Pete Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract – The major challenge facing society in the 21st century is to improve the quality of life for all citizens in an egalitarian way, by providing sufficient food, shelter, energy and other resources for a healthy meaningful life, whilst at the same time decarbonizing anthropogenic activity to provide a safe global climate. This means limiting the temperature rise to below 2ºC and to do this the world must achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Currently spreading wealth and health across the globe is dependent on growing the GDP of all countries. This is driven by the use of energy, which until recently has mostly derived from fossil fuel, though a number of countries have shown a decoupling of GDP growth and greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector through rapid increases in low carbon energy generation. Nevertheless, as low carbon energy technologies are implemented over the coming decades, fossil fuels will continue to have a vital role in providing energy to drive the global economy. Considering the current level of energy consumption and projected implementation rates of low carbon energy production, a considerable quantity of fossil fuels will still be used, and to avoid emissions of GHG, carbon capture and storage (CCS) on an industrial scale will be required. In addition, the IPCC estimate that large scale GHG removal from the atmosphere is required to limit warming to below 2º C using technologies such as Bioenergy CCS, and direct carbon capture to achieve climate safety. In this paper we estimate the amount of carbon dioxide that will have to be captured and stored, the storage volume, technology and infrastructure required to achieve the energy consumption projections with net zero GHG emissions by 2050. We conclude that the oil and gas production industry alone has the geological and engineering expertise and global reach to find the geological storage structures and build the facilities, pipelines and wells required. Here we consider why and how oil and gas companies will need to morph into hydrocarbon production and carbon dioxide storage enterprises, decommission facilities only after CCS and thus be economically sustainable businesses in the long term, by diversifying in and developing this new industry.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2020
Event2nd International Conference on Negative CO2 Emissions, Gothenberg, 2020 -
Duration: 12 May 202015 May 2020


Conference2nd International Conference on Negative CO2 Emissions, Gothenberg, 2020

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by UK NERC: ADVENT (NE/1806209), ADVANCES, FAB-GGR
(NE/P019951/1) and UBERC Phase 4 project funding


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