Blog 5: Putting hydrocarbons into context

29 July 2020

This is the fifth blog in a new series from Alasdair Green, a senior member of the AAB Energy Team and Head of E&P; “Balancing the Green Energy Agenda”. You can read the blog series from the beginning here

Another way of looking at oil & gas in the context of the green agenda must surely be how clean can the use hydrocarbons be?  How can we consume hydrocarbons more efficiently? It is also worth considering the potential impact of Carbon Capture Usage & Storage (CCUS), where existing knowledge and experience in the oil & gas industry can facilitate the storage and use of carbon dioxide in depleting hydrocarbon reservoirs. 

It is clear that in the quest to solve one environmental challenge by driving energy transition and green agendas, other environmental challenges will be created.  There is also no doubt that the human contribution to greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil fuels has accelerated the naturally occurring and irreversible phenomena of climate change.  It is also easy to say that modern settlements developed and built within the time-span of human memory perhaps should avoid river flood plains or very low lying coastal areas whose topographical evidence shows that they have been repeatedly flooded thousands of times over millennia.   

The context of climate change events within time-frames ranging from geological time to human memory and records is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects to grasp.  The solutions: sets of actions and tough adaptive measures therefore need to be balanced and varied.  

Climate change, energy transition and net zero policies are hitting the top headlines now on a daily basis, are being increasingly politicised and cannot be ignored.  These have driven relatively quick changes to company policies such as at BP and also to investor sentiment and various fund portfolio ethics.  UK Government policy has also reacted, such as by bringing forward the ban on diesel, petrol and hybrid car sales from 2040 to 2035, possibly sooner.  We must ask the question however, how realistic or potentially damaging are these very reactive policy changes?   

The next topic in the series is “Working together to find the solution 

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