Net-zero North Sea could deliver 200,000-plus new jobs

Maximising the opportunities from the North Sea’s shift to a lower-carbon world could create more than 200,000 new jobs and provide a £2.5 trillion boost to the nation’s economy by 2050, according to a major report out today.

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 7:30 am
The report says the oil and gas sector can accelerate the growth of renewables (file image). Picture: AP Photo/Jasper Carlberg/Polfoto.

Adopting new technologies to harness the full potential of resources including renewable energy, oil and gas, hydrogen and long-term carbon storage offers the chance for Scotland to be a global leader in integrated energy systems.

However, the report said realising such a vision will require £430 billion of new investment to close the gap on a number of crucial technologies and accelerate their deployment.

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The report produced by consultancy Wood Mackenzie for the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) with support from exploration and production company Chrysaor and the Scottish Government, sets out a technology roadmap for the North Sea.

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It says the oil and gas sector can accelerate the growth of the renewables sector, which in turn will be critical in supporting the oil and gas industry on its journey to net zero through developments such as the electrification of platforms.

Innovation opportunities to help the fossil fuel sector cut emissions include methane leak detection and flaring mitigation. In offshore wind, larger blades, taller towers and automated inspection technology will also play an important role in making the economic case for new investment. New developments to support marine renewables such as floating solar also provide significant opportunities.

Colette Cohen, chief executive at the Aberdeen-based OGTC said: “Reimagining the North Sea as an integrated energy system is essential for the UK and Scotland to achieve their net-zero ambitions. But we need to invest now to close the gap on the key technologies needed to make this ambition a reality.

Digitise

“We need to digitise our offshore energy sector and solve big challenges like energy storage, infrastructure redeployment, transmission systems and cost-competitive floating windstructures. By doing this, we can create strategic advantage and valuable export opportunities.”

Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “The skills, expertise and infrastructure of the oil and gas sector and its supply chain will be vital in unlocking these opportunities and also contributing to development of the great potential for offshore wind, floating wind and marine energy deployment in Scotland’s waters.”

The OGTC, an industry-led research and development organisation, was established in 2016 with £180 million funding as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal. It is involved in a cross-sector alliance with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapul to encourage collaboration between the renewables industry and upstream and downstream oil and gas sector.

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