In September 2014, the European Commission (EC) adopted a Zero-waste programme that became the legal framework for development of an EU-wide Circular Economy. The model assumes reuse of resources, minimisation of waste and encourages efficient use of the assets at our disposal. The Commission estimates that a Circular Economy can save EU businesses €600bn per year. Even though in December the EC confirmed it is scrapping plans to introduce the package and will launch a ‘broader and more ambitious’ waste package this year, the Circular Economy Business Model will still be at its core. With the major decommissioning challenge being faced by the North Sea oil and gas sector, does the Circular Economy provide a useful perspective for enhancing value and reducing waste in this major emerging sector?
The UK is in a strong position with respect to the potential for permanent sequestration of CO2 offshore in rock formations deep below the North Sea. This is because of two factors. Firstly the correct type of rock formations exist in places below the North Sea with the porosity to provide capacity for the CO2, permeability to allow its injection, and sealing formations to contain the CO2.
The Wood Review, published in February and aimed at identifying ways to stimulate North Sea oil and gas activity, proposes the creation of a new arm’s length industry regulator or agency to take on a broad industry facilitation role. When one looks at the roles proposed for this new agency, one could be excused for having a sense of ‘déjà vu’.