Is Scotland poised to phase out oil now? The international race is on to see which countries will lead the transition into a new age of eco-friendly alternative energy sources. And while Scotland may not have as big a problem as some others when it comes to pollutants, the country could be in a position to begin phasing out oil and become a European leader in the clean energy revolution. It was a number of years ago that the idea of Scotland becoming a renewable energy leader first began. At that time, in 2011, it was forecasted that Scotland could earn £2 billion a year by exporting electricity and taking the lead on clean energy. At that time, the government had put forth an ambitious goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2020 — a goal that was not quite reached, but which laid an early foundation for a strong effort around this. Nearly a decade later, Scotland has a fresh opportunity to make an ambitious push towards renewable energy. This opportunity has arisen in the form of a global oil crash that is leaves the door wide open for countries interested in and prepared for energy transitions. Questions about the oil industry in Scotland were asked in 2019. The slumping price of Brent crude over several years caused noticeable changes among those working in the industry, with the once-booming oil town of Aberdeen in particular feeling the effects. People who had worked in oil were already beginning to transition to new jobs, in some cases helping to decommission and dismantle the oil industry infrastructure itself. And this was all before the pandemic. The thinking around much of the world is that oil’s struggles are likely to be compounded by shifting investment priorities. Already, money in the broader energy sector was beginning to drift away from oil and gas and toward renewables. And now, with oil so badly damaged, that shift is likely to intensify. Alongside these changes, Scotland appears to be approaching the transition to renewables with new seriousness. The Committee on Climate Change recently argued in favour of the country becoming the first within the UK to achieve a net-zero economy — in part on the grounds that Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions already dropped 31% between 2008 and 2018. This sort of effort, alongside a widespread desire to recover from the pandemic in a sustainable manner, puts Scotland in a position to accomplish something very ambitious. The country could look to phase out oil altogether, and become a true leader in the push for renewable energy.
Edinburgh Reporter 30th Oct 2020 read more »
ExxonMobil has warned it may write down the value of its US shale assets by up to $30bn (£23.2bn) following a steep drop in global energy prices that has led to the oil giant’s third consecutive quarterly loss. The US oil and gas producer told investors it plans to reassess its North America gas business over the coming months, which could lead to impairment charges as high as $25bn to $30bn if it changes its long-term strategy. The rethink will include a string of shale gas assets acquired 10 years ago through an ill-fated acquisition of XTO Energy, which was worth about $30bn at the time, but whose book value is in doubt following a steep collapse in gas market prices due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Exxon said its shale gas operations were among the assets “at risk for significant impairment”.
Guardian 30th Oct 2020 read more »