Amid concerns that investors are shelving natural gas projects on grounds of its ESG credentials, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is seeking to publish a new classification of activities (as part of the ‘green taxonomy’), under which natural gas would be listed as environmentally sustainable when meeting certain criteria.
Many experts acknowledge that natural gas is an essential transition fuel – it will be needed in the decades to come, providing dispatchable power for increased energy security. Unlike many countries in Europe which adopted the stance to ban further fossil fuel production, natural gas can be developed and produced here on the UKCS, cleanly and efficiently, to stabilise supply, generate a valuable export (low carbon know how) and support the economy. The alternative is to increasingly rely upon imports and expose power generators and consumers to international markets (‘offshoring’ the associated emissions in the process).
With the advent of the Government’s CCUS Business Models, unabated natural gas fired power plants will see >90% of their emissions captured and stored. Coupling this onward use with the electrification of offshore production assets will ensure the UK’s electricity supply is secure, low carbon and affordable.