The north-east can become a carbon capture and storage (CCS) “powerhouse” of Europe, benefiting from job creation and other economic rewards as the fledgling industry takes off, seminar delegates will hear today.
Chaired by Aberdeen Harbour Board chief executive Colin Parker, the event throws the spotlight on new CCS opportunities facing the region as it battles to overcome a big slump in oil prices.
But it will also highlight concerns about the dangers of any sluggish action from Westminster in getting projects off the ground.
It brings together representatives from government, industry, academia and non-governmental organisations to underline the potential CCS prize across Scotland.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will open the proceedings at Aberdeen University with a keynote address.
Speakers including representatives from Shell, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) will explain why they think Scotland as a whole is well-placed to reap the benefits of a newly emerging global industry.
It is almost a year since a joint report from the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) said an ambitious roll-out of CCS technology in the UK would generate a large number of jobs and create a market worth up to £35billion a year by 2030.
The report highlighted the key role in this of SSE’s Peterhead power station, from which oil and gas giant Shell plans to capture 10million tonnes of carbon-dioxide (CO2) over 10-years and store it in the depleted Goldeneye reservoir under the North Sea.
Mr Ewing said: “The North Sea’s vast CO2 storage potential coupled with our existing oil and gas capabilities, ready supply chain and existing infrastructure means that Scotland is in a strong position to be at the centre of CCS development in Europe.”
TUC general-secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Carbon capture storage technology offers a way to meet our environmental targets, while creating thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs and transforming regional economies.
“This is a great opportunity to re-invigorate our manufacturing sector and bring new research and development, design and construction jobs to areas like Yorkshire, the north-east (of England) and Scotland.
“But without stronger government backing, the UK risks losing its competitive advantage and all the jobs and economic activity that CCS could bring.”
STUC assistant secretary Stephen Boyd added: “The Peterhead CCS project is a major economic opportunity for Scotland to establish itself as a leader in this technology.
“We currently have a global advantage in establishing a world-leading Scottish industry, securing thousands of regional jobs, but only if the (UK) government delivers the current CCS projects under its CCS commercialisation programme and keeps up this momentum with follow on projects.”