The oil and gas industry still has a strong future in Scotland despite its current challenges, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today as she announced new activity and investment in the sector.
She officially opened the new UK headquarters of the Norwegian state oil operator in Aberdeen, as she provided an update on how initiatives to support the industry are progressing.
The new Statoil HQ is part of the company’s plans to expand its operation in the North Sea and by 2018 Statoil expects to employ up to 200 employees onshore and up to 500 positions offshore in the full team.
In addition, more than 1,0000 jobs will be supported in the supply chain as Statoil develops the Mariner field, with work expected to start in Summer 2017.
Statoil’s expansion plans in both oil and gas and renewables demonstrate the versatility of Scotland’s energy sector, with Statoil also investing in offshore wind through the Hywind project – the world’s first floating offshore wind development, off the coast of Peterhead.
Sturgeon also confirmed that the first 600 people have had applications approved for the three-year Transition Training Fund, launched in February to help Scotland retain the skills developed through the oil and gas industry.
She also announced that around 70 innovation projects with a total project value of around £16 million have benefitted from £7 million of Scottish Government support to help firms reduce the risks associated with research and development and a further £1.1 million has been invested to support business resilience in the oil and gas industry.
The Scottish First Minister said: “The expertise that Scottish oil and gas firms have built up over many decades has positioned our energy sector as a world leader and while we realise that the industry and workforce is going through a difficult time, this investment and expansion from Statoil is a vote of confidence in the North Sea’s future.
“Our Oil and Gas Production statistics demonstrate that the industry is adapting to the current period of low prices, but what the industry must be ready to do is to capitalise when the upturn comes.
“We are doing everything we can to support the sector. Only half way through the first year of our three-year Transition Training Fund, launched in February, already 600 people have had their applications for support approved, and separately, we’ve committed £1.1 million to projects to boost business resilience.
“In conjunction with the efforts of the Energy Jobs Taskforce, our enterprise bodies have now engaged with more than 700 companies in the oil and gas sector, and will continue to identify where help is most needed and lay foundations for the future of our energy sector.”
“Statoil is demonstrating its willingness to diversify through the Hywind and Batwind renewable energy projects, again using the world leading expertise and skills of Scotland’s workforce. We are committed to working with firms like Statoil to support Scotland’s mixed energy sector and prepare it for a positive future.”
Hedda Felin – appointed last week as Managing Director of Statoil Production UK – said: “Statoil has a long term commitment to Scotland and to the UK Continental Shelf, as this new operations centre visibly demonstrates.
“Starting with just a handful of employees in the spring of 2013, Statoil has grown its workforce in Aberdeen to around 140. This autumn we will initiate another significant recruitment process, with around 40 open positions to be filled in coming months.”
The Mariner heavy oil field is progressing as planned and Statoil expects to commence production in 2018, with production expected for 30 years.
During her visit, the First Minister saw a model of the Noble Lloyd Noble jack up rig. The rig has just arrived in Scotland and will be positioned offshore in the Mariner field. It will start drilling around November and stay in the Mariner field for four years.
- Meanwhile energy consultancy Add Energy has been awarded a £120,000 contract with an upstream gas operator in Oman which will secure existing jobs at its Aberdeen office.