Energy innovation centre moves step closer in Aberdeen

Sir Ian Wood has been hired as the chairman of the board. Picture: Jane Barlow
Sir Ian Wood has been hired as the chairman of the board. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A project to establish Aberdeen as a global centre for innovation and technology development within the oil and gas industry has begun the search for a chief executive after the appointment of a high-profile board, chaired by Sir Ian Wood.

The development of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) in the Granite City is being led by private sector economic leadership body Opportunity North East (ONE).

Unveiling the board line-up today, industry veteran Wood, who chairs ONE’s main economic leadership board as well as the new OGTC board, said: “The OGTC is a transformational project for the oil and gas industry in the UK and for the north east of Scotland.

“The aim is to fundamentally change the oil and gas innovation and technology landscape, with a mechanism of delivery driving integrated change.”

Wood said that the setting up of the OGTC, which is backed by £180 million of funding via the Aberdeen City region deal, would also help address “current industry technology challenges”.

He added: “We will become recognised as one of the top three centres globally for innovation and technology development and deployment with a particular focus on subsea production, drilling and wells, mature basin asset management, ensuring decommissioning excellence, and oil and gas data science.”

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The recruitment process for a chief executive is now underway, with the selected candidate expected to play a “leading role in technology development within the upstream oil and gas industry in the UK and internationally”.

One of the OGTC’s first priorities is to establish a series of managed “solution centres”, which will be led by dedicated teams, bringing together knowledge and expertise from across industry. These will focus on “immediate challenges” including managing asset integrity, drilling and well construction and finding cost effective ways of developing smaller and more marginal offshore fields.

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Executive search firms have been appointed to identify candidates for the roles of chief executive and three solution centre managers, with the aim of having people in post by September.

Other members of the OGTC board include John Scrimgeour and Jeremy Kilburn from Aberdeen University, Melfort Campbell of the Scottish Government oil and gas industry leadership board, and Maggie McGinlay from Scottish Enterprise.

Wood added: “The OGTC’s work will create and sustain a high-value talent pool with world-class expertise in energy in and around Aberdeen.”