Nicola Sturgeon has hailed the opening of an innovation hub for the oil and gas industry as a “real milestone” in its recovery.
The First Minister said the hub at Aberdeen’s new Oil and Gas Technology Centre could “help unlock the full potential of the sector” following a difficult period for the North Sea.
The industry has been hit by heavy job losses in recent years as a result of the declining oil price.
Speaking at the launch event, Ms Sturgeon said: “The last few years have been difficult… for oil and gas, but out of those difficult times I think there has grown important and positive new developments.
“A greater focus in the industry on collaboration, and a greater realisation that technology and the use of technology can provide solutions to some of the challenges that are faced in the future.
“So today, while the oil and gas industry is by no means out of the all of the challenges and difficulties it faces, there are some really positive signs and reasons for optimism.”
The centre, funded through the Aberdeen City Deal, has already approved investment of more than £12 million in 21 projects.
Ms Sturgeon added: “The Oil and 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.”