Salmond unveils Oil and Gas Innovation centre plan

FIRST Minister Alex Salmond today announced plans to establish a new £10.6 million Oil and Gas Innovation Centre in Aberdeen to create and fast track pioneering solutions for the North Sea industry.

Alex Salmond unveiled the plans at Portlethen this morning. Picture: PA

The new centre, funded by Scottish Funding Council and supported by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, will bring together more than 2,300 oil and gas operators and service companies with twelve Scottish universities to work together on the development of oil and gas technologies.

The priorities of the new centre will be to enhance oil recovery and develop innovative technologies in subsea developments, seismic surveys, shale gas exploitation, asset integrity and extending the life of existing installations and reserves.

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A Scottish Government spokesman said: “OGIC will support industry aims to increase production and reduce costs in the UK Continental Shelf by enabling the delivery of ground-breaking technical solutions, using the skills and expertise of Scottish universities, innovators and industry.

“Today’s announcement will leverage over £26 million of investments from various sources, including industry contributions and through other external funding agencies within its first five years.”

Mr Salmond said: “Recent estimates suggest that activity in the North Sea fields will last for decades with 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent, valued at £1.5 trillion.

“Almost all oil production and more than half of total gas production over the next three decades will take place in Scottish waters. And, of course, only through independence would Scotland receive the tax revenues from this production.”

He continued: “As an international oil and gas exporter, Scotland is undeniably a main player and that is why it is so important we harness the expertise of our universities and bring them together with industry. Increasingly, our companies are embracing the major opportunities in the oil and gas supply chain, winning lucrative contracts to export products and services from Scotland.

“Scotland has many creative, innovative companies and academic institutions capable of identifying growth opportunities and delivering industry solutions. Today’s announcement demonstrates the confidence in our oil and gas sector and its ability to be pioneers of groundbreaking industry advances.”

Maggie McGinlay, director of energy at Scottish Enterprise said: “Scotland’s oil and gas industry is made up of global operators and suppliers – along with an experienced supply chain of small to medium sized companies which we know have the foresight and capabilities to develop significant innovations in the sector. By bringing this together with the expertise of our world-class higher education system, OGIC presents a real opportunity to help maximise the recovery of oil & gas reserves.”

Charlotte Wright, Director of Business & Sector Development at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “The future of Scotland’s oil and gas industry relies on the introduction of new deployment and recovery techniques, of new materials and the fresh design and construction of innovative subsea equipment. Businesses across the Highlands and Islands have a long and successful track record in the oil and gas sector and the establishment of the OGIC will help ensure that our region will continue to play a full part in addressing these challenges.”