Nicola Sturgeon today insisted that the "full potential" of Scotland's ailing oil and gas industry can still be salvaged by technological advances.
The First Minister was in Aberdeen to officially open the city's new Oil & Gas Technology Centre’s Innovation Hub, which allows tech firms in the sector to develop their ideas.
The North Sea has been hit by tens of thousands of job losses, with the North-east suffering most, as a result of the global oil price decline of recent years.
Ms Sturgeon today insisted that accelerating deployment of new technologies, such as robotics and virtual reality, could help recover oil and gas deposits which are increasingly located in hard to reach areas under he sea bed.
The First Minister said: "The Oil & Gas Technology Centre has made fantastic progress since opening its doors in February of this year. The new Hub aims to be the engine for innovation in the North Sea oil and gas industry.
“The state-of-the-art facility will speed up deployment of new technologies to help unlock the full potential of the sector, and cement Aberdeen’s reputation as a global centre for innovation and technology development.
“The Hub’s potential is being embraced by an ever-increasing number of companies. They recognise its important role in addressing industry problems and exploring how oil and gas technology can be adopted in other industries, such as renewables.”
In the last six months, working in partnership with industry, the Centre has approved investment of more than £12 million in 21 projects.
Luca Corradi, Innovation Network Director at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said the hub will be a "catalyst for new thinking and new ideas."
“The Hub uses the latest facilitation tools and techniques to harness creativity and turn ideas into actions. We look forward to working with schools and universities to create a programme to inspire a new generation of innovators,” he said:
Steve Phimister of oil giant Shell, said: “Technology is providing solutions as the oil and gas sector seeks to maximise economic recovery from the North Sea. The Innovation Hub will help in embracing future opportunities as well as reinforcing the skills and capabilities which exist in this region and across the supply chain.”