Trade bodies representing the oil and gas industries of five North Sea nations have signed a new formal agreement to work more closely during the energy transition.

A memorandum of understanding was signed on Tuesday by Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), the Norwegian Oil & Gas Association, Netherlands Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Association (Nogepa), Oil Gas Denmark and German association Bundesverband Erdgas, Erdöl und Geoenergie (BVEG).

It is hoped the new agreement will help the sector to reduce its output of operational greenhouse gas emissions and drive the growth of cleaner energy technologies.

The group has committed to host an annual summit to discuss progress.

OGUK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: “Today’s agreement recognises that climate change doesn’t stop at the border and commits us to work together to give millions of people access to cleaner energy and deliver a managed transition towards net zero.”

Anniken Hauglie, director general of the Norwegian Oil & Gas Association, said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. All countries and sectors in the world, including oil and gas, must contribute to the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, and this must happen quickly.

“It will be a demanding but absolutely necessary task. We want to help create a new and forward-looking energy industry on the Norwegian continental shelf where we use the knowledge and expertise from the oil and gas industry to develop the sector further."

Earlier this year, the UK industry, through OGUK, and government agreed the North Sea Transition Deal, the first of its kind for a G7 country, that it is hoped will set an example for other oil producing nations to follow.

The package of support is intended to set the stage for billions of dollars of investment to help operators cut operational emissions, while kick-starting hydrogen and carbon capture projects, as well as supporting the supply chain.