Offshore Oil and Gas Platform representing Closing Wells

Closing Wells: Fossil Exploration and Abandonment in the Energy Transition

Despite ambitious climate goals and already substantial stocks of developed fossil energy reserves, development of new fossil energy reserves continues to be high. This raises concerns, as it reinforces the fossil industry’s opportunities and incentives to continue extraction, and may necessitate abandonment of developed fossil reserves to meet climate targets.

SITE Brown Bag Seminar

In the next SITE Brown Bag seminar, Researcher Inge van den Bijgaart will discuss the energy transition, considering fossil exploration and development activities. Inge van den Bijgaart and her co-author in their paper discuss conditions for when the fossil industry will abandon reserves, and establish that continued exploration of fossil resources is not incompatible with abandoning developed reserves. The first-best implementation of a carbon budget always involves reserve abandonment, and thus exploration that pushes developed reserves in excess of the remaining budget. A quantitative assessment reveals that a volume equal to 9-19% of current oil and gas reserves are optimally abandoned, and that, even under a 1.5 ◦C warming target, exploration of new reserves is justified for another decade.


The link to the seminar will be distributed by invitation only. If you are interested to attend the seminar – please contact Follow the instructions below:

  • Type the subject box with “Brown bag seminar *INSERT SEMINAR TITLE*”
  • Indicate your affiliation and field of interest.

For registered applicants, a Zoom link will be provided prior to the event via email with further instructions.


Inge van den Bijgaart, is an Assistant Professor at the Utrecht University School of Economics. Inge’s primary research interests and expertise lie in the areas of environmental and resource economics and growth. Starting with her PhD research, she has developed a portfolio that spans several overlapping themes. These include climate policy and the energy transition, with a focus on the role of innovation and technological change.

* Views represented during the events are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the FREE Network, or its institutes and partner organisations.