Harry Moncreiff

Transition Strategies of Oil and Gas Incumbents in the North Sea Region



Country of origin: United Kingdom
University: The University of Edinburgh
Supervisor: Dr Ronan Bolton
Industry partners: Norwegian Energy Partners, Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij, Chalmers University


This research will explore the prospects for incumbents in the energy industry to play a more meaningful role in Europe’s energy transition. Focusing on the North Sea region, the project examines oil and gas company strategies in relation to low carbon energy, including investment, innovation, and the role of policy and regulation. The project will draw from and develop theories in innovation studies, business studies, and science and technology studies to analyse in an integrated way the technological, organizational and political processes which are reshaping the boundaries between the traditional fossil fuel and the renewables-based energy industries. A mixed methods approach will be used, including interviews with industry actors, project level case studies, analysis of company reports, firm level surveys and analysis of policy and regulatory documents. In addition, the project will benefit from several industrial secondments with a range of relevant stakeholders. The research will focus on the UK, Norway and the Netherlands, the major offshore oil and gas producing countries in the North Sea. Through collaborating with a range of industry partners, including fossil fuel producers and industry associations, the research will allow in depth examination and industry perspectives. The collaboration will ensure that academic insights are translated to business and that business insights are incorporated in the research projects, bridging the gap between academia and industry.

Project objective: expected results and contribution to society

The outcomes of the project will include an understanding of how existing agents in the oil and gas industry can adapt to and drive the energy transition. This will be through developing a deeper understanding of diversification investment and innovation processes, and the development of new strategies and capabilities, along with a set of supporting policy recommendations. The results are intended to help inform both industry and policy makers on how incumbents can play a more meaningful role in the transition to a low carbon energy system, delivering lower CO2 emissions, improving energy efficiency, increasing energy security, whilst safeguarding employment and welfare.

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