UK North Sea investment worth an estimated £630million was hailed by First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday during a visit to the Middle East.
Oil and gas operator Taqa is poised to spend the money in the next two to three years following a similar investment in the past three years.
After meeting Taqa bosses in Abu Dhabi, Mr Salmond said: “They intend to sustain that level of development over the next two to three years. It’s a further boost to the North Sea.
“This is further proof that there are opportunities for exploration and delivery which will take the industry forward for another 40 years. This significant investment and the jobs it will bring will be a boost to growth in Scotland, and the company’s ongoing commitment in the North Sea and the north-east will have the added impact of boosting confidence in the sector.”
Leo Koot, managing director at Taqa Bratani, the group’s UK subsidiary, said the Middle East parent’s North Sea spending allowed it to maximise production from existing assets and explore new fields which might otherwise have remained untapped.
Mr Koot added: “Taqa continues to invest heavily in the future of its UK North Sea business, with capital expenditure for the next two years at broadly similar levels to 2010 and 2011.”
Mr Salmond, on a five-day visit to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to strengthen economic and higher-education links, said a case was to be made to the Treasury in an attempt to maximise oil recovery from smaller North Sea oil fields by pushing for changes to the tax regime.
He also toured the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, saying links could be forged in renewable energy. He added: “As the world moves towards a low-carbon economy, there is mutual benefit to be had from working in collaboration to create these technologies.”
Mr Salmond also said a “framework for action” between Scotland and Masdar was in the pipeline, paving the way for future investment and collaboration in green-energy technology.
Masdar chief executive Sultan Ahmed al Jaber said: “Masdar is pleased to partner with Scotland on a number of upcoming renewable-energy initiatives. During First Minister Alex Salmond’s visit today we discussed a number of areas of collaboration and I look forward to working closely with him over the coming months to move these ideas forward.
“Scotland is a leading player in the renewable-energy field and we are delighted to combine our knowledge and experience through this mutual and beneficial partnership.”
Mr Salmond’s visit to the Middle East has also involved talks on infrastructure investment in Scotland.