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Scotland can become a world leader in decarbonisation – and its oil and gas industry will lead the way, says Scottish minister

7 September 2021

OGUK welcomes Scottish Government backing for the nation’s energy workers and companies in building a low-carbon future

Scotland’s oil and gas industry, and the 100,000 Scots who work for it, will play a key role in achieving the government’s target of reaching net zero by 2045, trade minister Ivan McKee told an energy industry conference today (Tuesday).

The nation’s expertise in offshore engineering meant Scotland could also become “a world leader in emerging areas such as hydrogen technology, carbon capture and storage, and offshore wind,” McKee told the delegates at the opening session SPE Offshore Europe Virtual Conference.

McKee also warned that such transformations must be carefully managed, not rushed. “Like many countries Scotland was scarred by the deindustrialisation in the 1970s and 1980s, but as someone who witnessed that first-hand in the West of Scotland, I vividly remember the damage done to communities there.

“We are determined to ensure that decarbonisation is different, that its benefits are fairly shared, and that we identify and mitigate as harmful consequences. One crucial way in which we’re trying to achieve that is by working closely with the oil and gas sector.

McKee said the North Sea was a centre of excellence in marine engineering skills that were also vital for the low-carbon and renewables industry. “The oil and gas industry supports over 100,000 jobs in Scotland, and even if we transition away from fossil fuels, we know it will have a vital role to play in Scotland’s energy future.”

Mike Tholen, OGUK’s Sustainability Director, said: “It will be a challenging journey for the nation to reach its climate goals while also protecting jobs, society and our economy, but it can best be done if we work together. This speech is welcome recognition that Scotland’s energy communities and the tens of thousands of people working in this sector can and should be at the heart of those changes.”


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