THE Scottish Government is in “close dialogue” with a world-first alliance to phase out the use of oil and gas.

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) was launched by Costa Rica and Denmark at a press conference at COP26 on Thursday.

The two countries have signed on 11 governments and subnational or regional governments, including devolved nation Wales, which seeks to deliver a managed and just transition away from oil and gas production.

At the alliance’s launch event, it was revealed that the group were in “close dialogue” with Scotland regarding joining.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon hits back at claims she 'abandoned' Holyrood​ to attend COP26

Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told The National that she said Scotland “may well” join the group “ in the not too distant future”.

Sturgeon also responded to criticism from environmental activists who said Scotland should have signed up to the pledge on the first day, and said they are both pushing for the same “destination”.

BOGA is a first-of-its-kind alliance of governments determined to set an end date for their oil and gas exploration and extraction.

They have also pledged to curtail new licensing or undertake other significant measures that contribute to the joint goal of aligning oil and gas production with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Members announced at Thursday’s event included Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Quebec, Sweden and Wales as core members; and California, New Zealand as associate members.

The National:

Dan Jørgensen, Denmark, centre, and Andrea Meza, Costa Rica, right, who formed the alliance

Asked by journalists which countries had been in talks to join the alliance, Danish Climate Minister Dan Jørgensen, said that he could only name one - Scotland.

He said: “We are in dialogue with many other countries that are not here today, and I promised not to mention any of them except one that I have promised to mention and that is Scotland.

“We are in close dialogue with them and I hope we will also be able to name other countries within the next few days.

“There has been a lot of interest in the alliance at this COP.

“Now it's important for us to say that we hope that those who are interested will do exactly that, sparking conversation, hopefully inspire us and that this alliance will grow.”

Launching the alliance, Jørgensen said that the group’s goal was “not small”.

He added: “We hope that today will mark the beginning of the end of oil and gas. When I talk to scientists, citizens, and activists, they all want one thing more than anything else, bold and tangible action.

“Not talk, action. That is what the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance is here to deliver.”

READ MORE: Stephen Kerr fumes as Nicola Sturgeon trebles cash for countries hit by climate change

Speaking to The National in the Blue Zone at COP26, Sturgeon said that Scotland was still assessing which category of membership would be most suited.

California and Italy, for example, have joined as associate members, while Denmark and Wales are core members.

Sturgeon said: “If we're going to join an organisation, we need to do a rigorous assessment about if we were to join, what category of membership would best suit our circumstances.

“So that's a process we're going through, I would expect that we may well associate ourselves with it in the not too distant future.

“To use the terminology of the organization's title, I've been very clear, not the easiest issue for Scotland, given our oil and gas dependence right now, to say this, but we do need to move beyond oil and gas as quickly as feasible.”

The National:

Sturgeon (pictured) said that the move away from oil and gas must be “just and fair” so that Scotland doesn’t become dependent on imported oil and gas.

She added: “And crucially doesn't leave 100,000 people in Scotland to work in that sector on the economic scrap heap. So that's what we are focused on.”

Andrea Meza, Director of Climate Change for Costa Rica, added that countries need to have “courage” to deliver concrete action on the production of fossil fuels.

She said: “When we're talking about how to accelerate action, we'll be addressing the demand side and yes, it is important we are in this pathway towards decarbonisation and we need to continue addressing the demand side for sure.

READ MORE: COP26: 'No excuse' not to meet $100bn pledge, says Nicola Sturgeon

“But we cannot also leave the supply side. We need to start this conversation.

“We need to start seeing concrete measures are meant on the supply side as well and leaves us with why BOGA is launched, is to start this conversation around the production of oil and gas.”

Lee Waters, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said that one of the reasons Wales joined as a core member was to encourage others to join.

He said: “The point of this movement is to create momentum, show that change is possible, and regardless of what comes out of COP, this alliance shows that action is possible by governments across the world regardless of anything agreed here.”