A senior executive at Baker Hughes and chair of this year’s Offshore Europe has told the conference that the industry is well aware of its “responsibility” to net zero and “didn’t need COP26 to prick our conscience”.
Neil Saunders, executive vice president of Oilfield Equipment at Baker Hughes, made the comments during the opening session of the event on Tuesday.
“We as an executive committee didn’t need COP26 to prick our conscience. We understood, we understand the relevance of our sector in the context of the offshore energy transition and that really helped us frame our theme.”
The event is, this year, themed on “Working together for a net zero future”, and Mr Saunders said that journey includes maintaining production.
He said: “Tackling climate change is on all of our minds and all of our agendas.
“We all know the energy mix will fundamentally change, but we must remember that oil and gas will remain a key fuel for the future and it is so important that we have an active involvement in decarbonising the extraction of oil and gas and decarbonising the production of oil and gas.
“There is no realistic future energy scenario where hydrocarbons don’t play a part. That part we must manage and make sure we do it in the most responsible way to make sure we minimise carbon footprint.”
Scotland’s scars from deindutrialisation
Also on the opening session was Ivan McKee, the Scottish Government’s trade minister.
Shortly after the SNP and Green party formed a power sharing deal at Holyrood, which has raised some concern among industry despite energy related matters being reserved to Westminster, Mr Mckee gave his support to the sector.
He also warned that mistakes of the past must not be repeated when it comes to decarbonising the energy industry.
“We are working to ensure that our transition is a just one, where no communities or individuals are left behind,” he said.
“Like many countries, Scotland was scarred by deindustrialisation in the 1970s and 1980s and as someone that witnessed that first-hand in the west of Scotland at the time, I vivdly remember the damage done to communities there. So we are determined to ensrue that decarbonisation is different, that its benefits are fairly shared and that we identify and mitigate its harmful consequences.
“A crucial way in which we’re trying to achieve that is by working closely with our oil and gas sector.
“The oil and gas industry supports over 100,000 jobs in Scotland, and even if we transition away from fossil fuels, we know it will have a vital role to play in Scotland’s energy future.”