The Greens and Tories have clashed over plans for energy giant BP to work with Aberdeen council to develop a hydrogen hub in the city.
North-east MSP Maggie Chapman raised her “concern” at Holyrood over the partnership, following reports BP paid a private firm to track climate activists.
She says the firm is responsible for “huge environmental damage across the planet” and claims their treatment of workers worldwide has been “questionable”.
The Scottish Conservatives slammed the Greens for “trying to derail” the £215 million low-carbon hydrogen energy hub – the first of its kind in Scotland.
North-east Tory MSP Liam Kerr said the hub will form a “key part of the north-east’s transition and help safeguard tens of thousands of local jobs”.
He added: “The city council should be commended for securing a vital part of the hydrogen hub, and working with the best team to bring it online.”
Plans for ‘world class’ hydrogen hub
BP was named as the council’s preferred bidder and commercial partner to build Scotland’s first scalable green hydrogen production plant in the Granite City.
There are hopes the “world class” operation could be up and running by 2024, bringing 700 jobs to Aberdeen by 2030 when it is fully up-and-running.
It comes as an investigation by openDemocracy found the energy firm paid a private corporate intelligence agency to track a variety of climate activists.
Ms Chapman said: “These revelations are damning and call into question the judgement of Aberdeen City Council leaders.
“This latest revelation shows they don’t respect the basic democratic right of privacy or to protest.”
In response to the Tories, the Green MSP said her party has been “pushing for a transition that creates secure and sustainable jobs for over 30 years”.
She said: “It is laughable that the Tories claim to care about workers when they continue to promote an insecure industry prone to devastating price shocks.
“The north-east has suffered enough under their watch.”
Ryan Houghton, Aberdeen City Council’s finance convener, said it is “hugely concerning that the Greens seem to be against a vital project for Aberdeen and the north-east’s energy transition”.
He added: “If they are against using the industry’s own expertise in hydrogen and carbon capture, I’d like to know what Maggie Chapman has in mind for supporting oil and gas jobs, as well as helping Aberdeen meet its climate obligations.”
In a statement on the spying reports, the energy company said BP events have seen “legitimate protests over many years, but they have also been targeted by more disruptive and sometimes potentially dangerous actions”.
The spokesman added: “We support people’s right to demonstrate peacefully but have a responsibility for the safety and security of those at our events and it is important to understand any risks.
“We have used the risk consultancy Welund to monitor and review material in the public domain such as social media posts that could help us manage these and other risks.”
The firm said its strategy will see investment in low-carbon energy – which includes hydrogen production – increase “10-fold to $5 billion a year by 2030 while at the same time reducing oil and gas production by 40%”.
The spokesman continued: “This agreement is fully in line with our strategy and is a tangible example of how we are partnering with the public sector to help decarbonise cities.
“It follows our transformational bid in the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round which, if successful, will see BP invest billions of pounds into offshore wind projects while helping to accelerate Scotland’s energy transition through investment in infrastructure, skills and the supply chain.
“BP brings 50-plus years of operational experience in the North Sea to these new low carbon ventures, which create opportunities for our employees to transition their skills to emerging energy industries right here in Scotland.
“The hard work starts now and we look forward to working with Aberdeen City Council to make the hydrogen hub a reality.”