The amount of carbon that would be emitted during any future oil production at West Newton in East Yorkshire would be smaller than the UK onshore average, according to the conclusions of a study announced today.
The assessment rated the carbon intensity of potential upstream crude oil production from West Newton as AA – the best available.
The authors, consultancy GaffneyCline, estimated that West Newton could produce the equivalent of 5g of carbon dioxide per megajoule of energy created.
In a statement, Union Jack Oil, an investor in the West Newton field, said:
“The carbon intensities at West Newton are significantly lower than the UK average and compared to other onshore analogues.”
The study estimated that West Newton’s carbon intensity could be reduced to 3.5g of CO2 per megajoule of energy created by using gas-to-grid technologies.
There was also potential to improve the figure further by reducing fugitive emissions and emissions from flaring and venting, the authors said.
The West Newton licence, operated by Rathlin Energy, is still at the exploration stage. The second well at West Newton-A site is due to be tested this year. Work is underway on site construction at the West Newton-B site nearby.
Union Jack’s executive chairman, David Bramhill, said:
“This study is an excellent overview of the green credentials for any future development decision at West Newton.
“The AA rating achieved indicates the efforts made by the Operator, Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited, to ensure that projects under its stewardship comply with best practice. Union Jack and Reabold Resources Plc support Rathlin’s strategy to negate the effects and threat of climate change.
“The Board of Union Jack believes that in these environmentally-aware times, investors will only wish to commit to investments in companies and projects that support a transition to a low-carbon economy.”
The study used an oil production greenhouse gas emissions estimator and an assessment of the global carbon intensity of crude oil production.
Friends of the Earth Scotland, responding to an initiative by the Oil and Gas Authority, said today:
“Emissions from extracting oil and gas represent just a tiny fraction of the total climate emissions created when these fossil fuels are burned.”
The organisation’s campaigner Ryan Morrison said:
“The oil and gas industry is being disingenuous with its focus on reducing the impact of extracting fossil fuels without any acknowledgement of the far greater impacts of actually burning billions of barrels of oil and gas.
“The only honest zero carbon strategy is a rapid, well-planned conversion of the offshore industry away from fossil fuels and towards renewables.
“Fossil fuels drive the climate crisis and the industry has shown time and time again it does not serve the interests of people or planet.”
Today’s publication of the West Newton study comes a day after BP announced it wold cut £14bn from the value of oil and gas assets and said it may be forced to leave some fossil fuel discoveries in the ground. The reset was likely to accelerate BP’s plans to end its contribution to the climate crisis by 2050, commentators have said.