North East of Scotland could become the all-energy hub for Europe.
Finance Secretary John Swinney has set out the Scottish Government’s vision to build on the success of the North East in an independent Scotland at a debate in Aberdeen last night.
He highlighted the huge potential of the North East, in energy, manufacturing, food and drink, tourism and services and set out how they can be harnessed with the full powers of independence.
Mr Swinney also said that independence brought together all the necessary tools to capture Scotland’s energy opportunity by combining a stable fiscal regime, with a skills and training policy for Scotland, incentives for manufacturing and an effective regulator.
The Finance Secretary also welcomed a new study revealing the North East of Scotland could become the Carbon Capture and Storage hub for Europe.
The key findings of the Element Energy report conclude that Scotland’s existing infrastructure, skills base, potential storage and enhanced oil recovery sites in the Central North Sea, make it a compelling location to be a Carbon Capture and Storage hub for Europe with billions of pounds of benefits to the Scottish and North East economy.
The report provides analysis of the opportunities to deliver CCS at least cost, least risk, and with maximum flexibility. It shows that the combination of Carbon Capture and Storage with Enhanced Oil Recovery in the Central North Sea provides an excellent platform to achieve multiple benefits.
Key findings include:
• Investment would boost the Scottish economy – the potential gross value added to the Scottish economy alone would be up to ca. £7 billion over the period to 2050, excluding tax receipts.
• Under aggressive CCS deployment work would lead to the creation of 44,000 cumulative person-years of employment in Scotland in the period to 2050.
• CCS can support the decarbonisation of the economy in Scotland, the UK and North West Europe, with potential for storing up to 1,700 million tonnes of CO2 over the period to 2050, helping us to meet the challenge of climate change.
• As this can be accompanied by the economic production of at least 1.4 billion additional barrels of oil, extending the life of the oil industry in the UK, Norway and Denmark, and bringing in £10 billion in discounted revenue, and associated benefits in balance of trade, jobs, and energy security.
Speaking before a referendum debate in Aberdeen, Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
“The economy in Aberdeen and the North East is one of Scotland’s success stories. The track record of the Scottish Government where we have some devolved control over our economy – including major investment in Aberdeen – demonstrates what can be done if we exercise control here in Scotland.
“Independence will allow us to bring wealth and job creating powers together with our current powers on skills, education and services in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the North East. By putting those tools into the hands of people whose number one priority is Scotland’s economy Aberdeen will cement its position as Europe’s energy hub.
“The Scottish Government have been robust advocates of CCS for over a decade now, recognising the strong comparative advantages that Scotland has in academic expertise, industrial know-how and the unrivalled storage capacity in the North Sea and Scotland is are already contributing financially to the UK CCS Competition through the taxes we pay to the Treasury.
“Today’s report from Element Energy shows that CCS is a £7 billion opportunity for Scotland’s economy to 2050, including the economy of the North East.
“Scotland is perfectly placed to play a leading role in the development of CCS and capture a major share of the global market.
“Innovation, including the contribution of EOR/CCS can and should play a major part in securing the long term future and success of the oil and gas industry. Sadly, the UK Government have failed to grasp the scale of prize of using CCS to extract additional oil reserves.
“Only independence provides Scotland with the autonomy to make the necessary strategic investments that will support the growth of CCS.”