Scotland risks ‘another wave of deindustrialisation’ without carbon capture warns oil and gas trade body OGUK

Scotland faces losing its heavy industrial plants like Grangemouth without carbon capture and storage, the oil and gas industry trade body warned today.

The stark message comes days after the UK Government’s decision not to award funding to a Scottish project spearheading the technology was met with widespread anger north of the Border.

OGUK, the UK Oil and Gas Industry Association, said the innovation was critical to prevent companies moving south.

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Michael Tholen, its sustainability director, told Scotland on Sunday the future of Scotland’s remaining heavy industries, such as Ineos’s Grangemouth plant, depended on it.

The planned carbon capture development at St Fergus near Peterhead

He said: “A Scottish carbon capture and storage facility would help secure the future for much of Scotland’s heavy industry.

"It could enable not just our oil and gas industry but also our chemical, refining, engineering and even our brewing industries to join the low carbon economy.

“Without carbon capture, and the associated production of hydrogen, Scotland would risk another wave of deindustrialisation, with key employers like the chemical industry moving south to new sites close to carbon capture facilities.”

The UK Government announcement last Tuesday means the Acorn Project at St Fergus in Aberdeenshire and Grangemouth is now likely to be part of a second phase of the UK’s carbon capture, utilisation and storage cluster sequencing process.

The first development is now due to be built on the Humber and around Liverpool instead.

Meanwhile, two speeches by Nicola Sturgeon this week will launch the Scottish Government’s programme for the COP26 climate change conference, which opens in Glasgow next Sunday.

The First Minister will set out her ambitions for the two-week United Nations summit on Monday before opening the UN's four-day, 140-nation Conference of Youth at the University of Strathclyde on Thursday.

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The Scottish Government will co-host a “multi-level action” pavilion in the conference’s delegates-only “blue zone” at the Scottish Event Campus with the Local Governments for Sustainability global network ICLEI to showcase the “vital role of states and regions in the international response to the climate crisis”.

It said it would also play a prominent role in the Peatland, Nordic and Cryosphere (frozen regions) pavilions in the zone.

Net Zero, Energy and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: "The Scottish Government supports the development of CCUS in Scotland, and has been a firm supporter of the Scottish Cluster’s bid into the sequencing process. It is clear that the Acorn project is the most cost-effective and deliverable opportunity to deploy a full chain CCS project in the UK.

“It is therefore completely illogical that the UK Government has taken the decision not to award the Scottish Cluster clear and definitive Track-1 status. It is a decision which significantly compromises our ability to take crucial near-term action to reduce emissions – not just in Scotland, but across the UK.

“We are calling on the UK Government to urgently review this decision. The Scottish cluster is critical to delivering a just transition for our workforces, capitalising on existing skills and expertise to create many good, green jobs in the coming years. This decision puts a just transition at serious risk.”

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Ms Sturgeon will also take part in formal presidency events that will profile the action and ambitions of women, young people and states.

She will join the UN High Level Champions to promote the role that can be played by governments at all levels in tackling climate change.

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The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise have also joined forces to create Scotland's Climate Ambition Zone, at The Lighthouse design and architecture centre in Glasgow to showcase the best of Scotland's innovative low-carbon businesses.

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