Closing Down All Oil and Gas Production Overnight is Unrealistic, Says AEC Chair

Evgeniy Ambrosov AEC Chair, Russian Federation
Evgeniy Ambrosov, AEC Chair, Russian Federation. (Archive photo: Arne O. Holm)

Arctic businesses are doing a lot to reach the climate goals, but shutting down oil and gas overnight is unrealistic, says AEC Chair Evgeniy Ambrosov.

Evgeniy Ambrosov serves as Chairman of the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) during the Russian chairmanship (2021-2023). In an exclusive interview, Ambrosov says to High North News that the Arctic region has an important role to play in the ongoing global energy transition. 

Leaders of the G20 countries agree on reaching the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement and confirmed this in a joint statement during the United Nations Climate Change Conference that is currently ongoing in Glasgow. 

“We remain committed to the Paris Agreement goal to hold the global average temperature increase well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, also as a means to enable the achievement of the 2030 Agenda”, the joint statement reads. 

Most felt in the Arctic

What implications do the goals set by the G20 countries have for AEC members and for business in the Arctic? 

“People and businesses in the Arctic feel the effects of climate change more than most other places on the planet. International agreements like the one at the G20 Summit are good because the causes of climate change are coming from the outside of the Arctic, although the effects are felt in the Arctic most. It takes a global effort to achieve the 2030 agenda”, says Ambrosov. 

What must Arctic businesses do to reach the climate goal of 1.5 degrees? 

Arctic businesses are doing a lot to reach the climate goals, but it takes more investments into the Arctic to make this happen. We see a lot of new projects in renewable energy like hydro and wind, and we see a potential for hydrogen as well", Ambrosov says.

Arctic minerals

"The Arctic also holds several of the mineral resources needed in the green transformation if we want to build, for example, wind turbines or electric vehicles. Furthermore, hydrocarbon producers that are among the AEC members are closely looking into Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) at the reservoir at the end of the oil field’s life cycles. This is one of the most effective tools to decarbonize not only oil and gas production facilities but also other industries around the world. Moreover, CCS technologies are used in the production of blue ammonia", the AEC Chair, says and adds:

"These kinds of projects are directly addressing climate change, a major challenge for global economies. What we need now is the right framework conditions from governments internationally. Every company, also in the Arctic, wants stable and predictable long-term plans. These plans are a prerequisite for companies to be able to respond to the massive investment challenge they are facing by lowering any risk”.

Global energy transition

Do we have to let the oil and gas stay in the ground?

“It is unrealistic to believe that we can close down all oil and gas production from one day to another. The world is going through an energy transition where the Arctic region has an important role to play as it holds a good track record for responsible resource development. Most companies are investing in diversifying their energy mix and this diversification of energy is one step forward”, Ambrosov says in closing. 

The Arctic Economic Council is an independent business membership organization that facilitates partnerships, develops policy proposals, and promotes sustainable economic development in the Arctic.

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. It is being held in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, between 31 October and 12 November 2021.

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