Future energy developments offer “massive” opportunities for Scotland, oil and gas leaders heard in Aberdeen last night.
The Scottish Offshore Achievement Awards were being addressed by David Rennie, who next week becomes interim director of oil and gas at Scottish Enterprise.
Mr Rennie, who heads up the fossil-fuels and carbon-capture and storage (CCS) team at the Scottish Government, was among speakers at the “Oil Oscars” at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.
Now in their 25th year, the awards organised by Scottish Enterprise showcase and recognise excellence, innovation and achievement.
Last night’s black-tie event was hosted by Jackie Bird.
Mr Rennie said 2009 and the early part of this year had not been easy for the oil and gas industry and the economy overall, but there were some tentative signs of recovery.
There was good news coming in Scottish Enterprise’s international activity survey, which is to be published shortly. The report will show that during 2008-09 there was again an increase in sales from the Scottish supply chain to reach more than £15billion.
Mr Rennie said the oil and gas sector continued to be the largest industrial investor in the UK economy.
But he said there had been a lot of focus recently on other areas of energy, such as the award of Crown Estate leases for 10 sites on the seabed off the north coast of Scotland to assist in the development of wave and tidal electricity projects
There was also increased focus on the potential that Scotland had in development of CCS. Mr Rennie said these developments offered massive opportunities for Scotland, adding: “It is important to recognise that the oil and gas sector and the north-east will be at the forefront of these opportunities.
“Many of the businesses and supply-chain services that will be needed for renewables and other low-carbon developments can be supplied from the north-east. A real and visible example of this was the recent series of ‘share fair’ events held around Scotland and the UK in relation to offshore wind energy. The first and most popular event was here in Aberdeen.
“So, when assessing the future, we have to ensure that the north-east does not lose out. We have to capitalise on the infrastructure, the know-how and the companies that are already here and assess how they might take advantage of these growth sectors. The renewables sector can learn a lot from the development and know-how of your industry.
“And of course this goes hand in hand with the continued support that Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government offers for oil and gas. We want to continue to support the world-class offshore expertise that we have here on a global scale, both in terms of current activity and seeking new markets.”
Last night’s dinner also heard from David Strahan, author of The Last Oil Shock, who took a look at the North Sea’s future and the potential for CCS and offshore wind.