My primary focus to date has been on the estimation of emissions associated with oil and gas decommissioning activities. Together with my colleagues at Xodus, I have recognised that many of the emissions-producing activities (and the calculations behind these emissions) are directly transferrable to those associated with other offshore energy projects and we are working on a common approach to this. Activities including vessel transport and the manufacture and recycling of materials are universal and contribute significantly to offshore project emissions. This was reinforced at #decomweek2023 by European Metal Recycling (EMR), who pointed out that material handling and reuse accounts for 70% of global GHG emissions.
The potential to recognise emissions (and cost) savings across the sector is huge, but only if we take stock of the massive changes ahead of us as the energy transition takes hold. This change will indisputably be for the better, but in the process, we shouldn’t lose sight of the (currently incomprehensible) quantities of material to be decommissioned, manufactured, recycled and constructed on a global scale over the coming decades. Taking the time to consider the contrast in green-house gas emissions for choices such as the use of virgin vs recycled materials, the different recycling methods (e.g. traditional coal-based vs electric arc furnace) and vessel durations, will provide opportunities to help us to decarbonise in a considered way. It will also promote the use of clean technologies and as also highlighted by Zero Waste Scotland, provide insights into how the cycle of material can contribute to a circular economy.
The processes involved with estimating, monitoring and measuring the emissions for individual projects are not standardised and are currently poorly understood. As a solution for this, Xodus is developing a digital carbon assessment tool. It will facilitate standardisation and alignment of offshore energy project decarbonisation pathways, align with regulatory drivers including NSTA Stewardship Expectations for net zero and cost targets and facilitate informed and prompt project decision-making. This approach will provide a baseline to enable benchmarking, allow standards to be set and targets developed, monitor emerging trends and encourage the reduction of emissions and advancement of technology. The level of validation offered by this tool will enable transparency and provide a robust and realistic picture of emissions across the offshore energy sector.