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Oil and Gas Taskforce primed to energise North of Scotland

04 October 2013

North industry leaders will join Energy Minister Fergus Ewing in Aberdeen today (Friday 4 October) to explore how the booming north east oil and gas industry can grow its offering as a global energy hub.

The Energy North Oil and Gas Taskforce is meeting today (Friday 4th) in Aberdeen, bringing together the expertise from industry to look at ways of expanding the supply chain across the North of Scotland.

The gathering marks the first meeting of the full Energy North oil and gas taskforce since it was formally launched in July. Recognising the pressure facing the industry in and around Aberdeen as it becomes stretched to capacity, the taskforce aims to bolster the region’s reputation as Europe’s energy capital by expanding the reach of its supply chain to include the Highlands and Islands.

New offshore developments in Scotland including West of Shetland and continuing investment in the global industry now means that there are more opportunities for businesses from across the North and North East to help support Aberdeen in retaining its reputation as the oil capital of Europe.

The work of the taskforce will focus on the key areas of skills, supply-chain, location and infrastructure. It will bring senior industry representatives and leading trade body Energy North together with Scottish Government representatives from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland. 

Energy Minister and Chair of Energy North Taskforce Fergus Ewing said:

“Today’s meeting marks a step forward in our commitment to the industry to engage and involve them in all possibilities that might be available to support them and help them grow.

“Many taskforces have been established because of a serious problem facing Scotland’s economy however this taskforce is all about looking at future opportunities, learning from each other working together whilst looking ahead to achieving increased investment and prosperity for the area.

“One of the main objectives’ of the taskforce is to establish the North of Scotland as a new Oil and Gas Hub, this is a focal point of Highlands and Islands ambition to be an Energy Hub and will aim to  relieve some of the existing pressures currently faced by Aberdeen. 

“Aberdeen has long held the reputation of being the Oil and Gas capital and leading the way in Scotland but it is clear that in order to have competitive advantage we need to work together to see what other opportunities there might be in Scotland.  The Scottish Government is committed to supporting and helping offshore contractors and supply companies to work together to achieve continued growth and success.”

Ian Couper, chief executive at Energy North, commented:

“We are very pleased to be at the forefront of this new initiative and to see it progress since its inception in the summer.

“The object of the taskforce is to ease capacity issues currently facing the Aberdeen industry by supporting it to source services which already exist elsewhere in the North of Scotland.

“With so much money being invested in upgrading infrastructure and developing supply chain services, businesses in the Highlands and Islands are perfectly positioned to support oil and gas development in the North East. This is a win – win situation for the north east industry and the Highlands and Islands economy as a whole.

“At today’s meeting we will focus on how the taskforce’s working groups will operate. Three groups will focus on infrastructure and promotion, supply chain development and skills. We very much look forward to working with everyone involved.”

Calum Davidson, Director for Energy and Low Carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said:

"Energy and oil and gas has been at the heart of the Highland economy for the past 40 years and it’s clear that it is going to be just as important for the next 40.

"Alongside major investments in offshore wind and wave and tidal projects in the waters around the Highlands and Islands, we are seeing oil and gas investments in the North Sea and west of Shetland to rising to a level not seen since the 1980s. The north of Scotland has a well established skilled and experienced supply chain already supporting subsea activity around the globe and we welcome this increased focus on the region's expertise in the oil and gas sector, supporting Aberdeen’s key role as one of the world’s great oil and gas cities."

About Energy North

Energy North is a 'not-for-profit' trade group with 200 members in the Oil and Gas, Renewable Energy and Nuclear markets. Our area of operation covers Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland, Caithness, Ross-shire, Inverness, Moray, Argyll, and the Outer Hebrides. This confirms the Energy North as the voice of Energy in the North of Scotland and Islands.

Its functions include:

  • The development of Ignite, our comprehensive energy project database for exclusive use of members.
  • Targeted focus groups to address issues and areas of concern.
  • Trade missions and exhibitions promoting our members and the wider area to the rest of Scotland, the wider UK and abroad.
  • The development of a major skills plan for the area.
  • Regular events for networking and information on the energy industry.
  • Weekly updates around the group on forthcoming events, relevant news articles, information on funding etc.
  • A quarterly newsletter with informative articles from key stakeholders, members and other relevant bodies.
  • Political lobbying of both UK and Scottish Parliaments.

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