Visionary Report on the Future of the UK Downstream Oil Sector in a Low-Carbon World

London, 09/07/19 – A future downstream oil sector that delivers lower lifecycle emissions from its processes and products can play a major role in helping the UK realise its net-zero climate ambitions, according to a new report released today (Tuesday). 

The report from the UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) outlines the opportunities across the sector – from the refinery to the forecourt – that can help companies decarbonise their operations, provide a new generation of low-carbon liquid fuels to consumers and ensure that the industry continues to be a major contributor to the UK economy. 

Conclusions from the report include: 

  • By 2050 demand for liquid fuels will change, but they will still be needed. 
  • The fuels we use today could be made low-carbon on a lifecycle basis, efficiently using existing distribution infrastructure and without having to wait for a new car fleet. 
  • Many opportunities exist for the downstream oil sector to work with other industries – particularly in industrial clusters – to achieve at-scale decarbonisation, especially thanks to energy efficiency improvements and new technologies such as carbon capture. 
  • Refineries of the Future can be vanguard R&D hubs for low-carbon liquid fuels, which can help society realise its climate change ambitions as well as offering opportunity to increase exports of low-carbon products and expertise. 

With the sector currently making an annual contribution to UK GDP of £21.2 billion and supporting around 300,000 jobs, the UKPIA ‘Future Vision’ report calls for a technology neutral investment climate that will further incentivise the downstream oil industry to make the changes to operate in a low-carbon world. 

UKPIA Director-General Stephen Marcos Jones, said, “Achieving the enormously challenging targets of reducing emissions to net-zero by 2050, recently put into law by the UK Government, will require a complete transformation of the UK energy system. The downstream oil sector has a major opportunity to be an enabler for this transition to a low-carbon economy. However, it will require pragmatic and supportive policymaking to encourage companies to make the investments of time, personnel, capital and business leadership necessary to achieve these goals.” 

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Notes to Editors: 

  • The UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) represents eight oil refining and marketing companies that operate the six major oil refineries in the UK and source over 85% of the transport fuels used. UKPIA members also own around 1,250 of the UK's 8,476 filling stations in the UK. 
  • The UKPIA Future Vision: The Downstream Oil Sector in a Low-Carbon World report is available on the UKPIA website or in hard copy on request from the UKPIA Press Office. 


  • Jamie Baker, Director of External Relations, +44 (0) 2072 697 605 
  • Will James, Communications & Membership Specialist, +44 (0) 2072 697 604 
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