Fossil fuels leaders have been accused of a “PR stunt” as an attempt to “avoid the real changes needed” to Scotland’s energy mix after any mention of oil and gas was removed from the name of the industry body.
Oil and Gas UK will now be known as Offshore Energies UK with industry bosses announcing the overhaul to take on the interests of members in hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and renewables.
Offshore Energies UK’s members will continue to produce the oil and gas the industry body claims the UK will still need to support its energy security, as well as jobs and the economy.
But business leaders insist these companies are also already involved in some of the most innovative low carbon projects across the country, including HyNet North West, Acorn Hydrogen & CCS in north east Scotland, Equinor’s Dogger Bank wind farm, West Anglesey Tidal Energy Project, Hywind Scotland and Net Zero Teesside.
Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Offshore Energies UK, said: “Today marks an important day in our evolution as we seek to deliver a managed transition that supports the security of energy supply for the UK while helping to underpin and the country’s energy transition and climate goals.
“Our diverse membership is already actively investing in cutting edge, greener and cleaner technologies which add value to the whole UK economy. Over the last 50 years, the offshore oil and gas sector has contributed over £375 billion to the Exchequer and supported hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“Our members are now building on their oil and gas heritage to make the UK a global centre of green energy excellence that will help achieve net zero, while powering homes and industries.”
She added: “While our members are accelerating these newer energies, they will also dramatically reduce the emissions associated with producing the oil and gas that will continue to be an essential part of the UK’s increasingly diverse energy mix.
“We welcome the support we’ve received from members, industry and both governments since our initial announcement and look forward to working with them to engage, inform and proudly champion this sector which is at the heart of the energy transition.”
But the Scottish Green have stressed that the rebrand must now usher in an end to the industry continuing to press for expanding fossil fuels projects.
Scottish Greens energy and environment spokesperson, Mark Ruskell, said: “This hurried rebranding comes as the inevitable consequence of an increased recognition that we have to move away from fossil fuels as the science demands and create alternative jobs in renewables.
“Indeed, Oil and Gas UK’s own polling found the majority of the public to do not trust fossil fuel companies to lead the way to net zero. That’s why under this new name the industry body cannot continue to lobby for ever-increasing expansion in oil and gas production, against the advice of the International Energy Agency and the UN.
“Its new mission must reflect the fact that we must move beyond the age of oil and gas and invest in jobs in the alternatives.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s climate and energy campaigner, Caroline Rance, said the rebrand shows “oil and gas companies are admitting that their decades of delay and denial on climate change have destroyed their reputation in the eyes of people across the UK”.
She added: “They might change their name, but they haven’t changed their game. They continue to lobby for new exploration and drilling of oil and gas that are driving the climate crisis, and continue to undermine efforts to build a just transition to renewables. Carbon capture & fossil hydrogen serve only to prolong our use of climate-wrecking fossil fuels.
“The tiny fraction that these companies invest in renewables pales in comparison with the vast sums they spend continuing to explore, extract and burn fossil fuels.
“The millions being spent on PR stunts like this are an effort to avoid the real changes needed – a rapid phase out of oil and gas production shaped by workers and communities to create new jobs.”
Source: The HeraldTags: Fossil Fuels, Hydrogen, Oil and Gas, Scotland, UK