New research in Scotland has stressed the need for a clear government policy which positions Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) in the North Sea as part of a managed transition towards a low-carbon economy in the UK.
The findings from a joint research project between Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen and Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) highlight differing attitudes when people consider how current government priorities on maximising oil recovery relate to climate change objectives.
Dr Leslie Mabon, one of the researchers from RGU’s School of Applied Social Studies, said: “There is an increasing awareness of the need to imagine a future for the North Sea that balances our oil and gas needs with our obligations to climate change mitigation and the need to develop a sustainable economic base for the north-east of Scotland.
“What came across loud and clear from our research was that there is an expectation that the government will lead on decarbonisation and create a joined-up, coherent policy that balances oil production with our climate change obligations.”
Dr Mabon and researcher Chris Littlecott, from SCCS, found that scenarios which emphasised maximising oil recovery were met with scepticism or even opposition, and that there is an expectation for national governments to lead and ensure CO2-EOR and CCS are developed in the public interest.
Mr Littlecott said: “Through our research we found that all stakeholder groups wanted to look beyond scenarios that focus purely on maximising economic recovery of North Sea oil.
“Citizens and experts alike recognise that action must be taken to reduce CO2 emissions, and want to see coherence between these different government objectives.
“Within this context, we found that there may be qualified support for CCS with CO2-EOR to make best use of existing fields whilst decarbonising the power and industrial sectors at the same time.
“However, for this support to emerge there is a need for a joined-up government policy that positions CO2-EOR firmly within a managed transition towards a low-carbon economy.”