JOURNAL: Explaining varying speeds of low-carbon reorientation in the United Kingdom’s steel, petrochemical, and oil refining industries: A multi-dimensional comparative analysis and outlook

Summary

Authors:

Frank W. Geels
Julian Gregory

University of Manchester

Explaining varying speeds of low-carbon reorientation in the United Kingdom’s steel, petrochemical, and oil refining industries: A multi-dimensional comparative analysis and outlook

Energy Research & Social Science

May 2024

This paper examines the differing speeds of low-carbon transition in UK steelmaking, oil refining, and petrochemical industries. It analyses factors like policy support, international competition, financial health, technical feasibility, and corporate strategy to explain why UK oil refineries have in recent years been comparatively the fastest in their low-carbon reorientation and UK steelmakers the slowest (until recent government deals). Oil refineries have shown the fastest transition due to better policy support and financial performance, technological feasibility and corporate strategies, while steelmakers face challenges like international competition, technological feasibility issues and corporate perceptions that still mostly see decarbonisation as a burden and threat. The study concludes with comparative conclusions, a discussion of political considerations (including recent government deals with steelmakers), and future outlooks for the three UK industries, policy, and research.