Denmark’s phase-out of upstream oil and gas: Effective climate policy or symbolic gesture?

This comment looks at the announcement by the Danish government on 4 December to cancel the 8th offshore licensing round and all future rounds and to phase out all production of oil and gas by 2050. It describes the industry and political background to the announcement, including the ambitious legal target of a 70% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050, and the most recent official projections of offshore production. It concludes that it will shape operators’ investment and management of mature fields but its impact on Danish emissions and upstream production in 2030 and 2050 is likely to be much more modest than at first appears. However, if the reform galvanises the Danish authorities and investors to commit resources to the development of offshore CO2 storage in the period 2025-30, it may contribute significantly to Denmark’s climate objectives.

By: Marshall Hall