The Scots oil magnate behind Opportunity North East (ONE) – the new private sector led and funded economic development organisation for the region – has welcomed the City Region Deal (CRD) for Aberdeen city & shire.
The UK and Scottish governments are contributing £125 million apiece to the deal, while the Scottish government is also putting up another £204 million for other non-oil industry and infrastructure developments.
ONE was launched last year with an initial funding commitment of £25 million from The Wood Family Trust.
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of ONE, said: “These agreements are a really strong signal of confidence in the future of our region from the UK and Scottish Governments, particularly in relation to the role that innovation will play in maximising the North Sea opportunity and achieving diversification and greater balance through growth in our other key industries.
“The work done by ONE, in partnership with Aberdeen city & shire councils and Robert Gordon’s and Aberdeen Universities has secured significant funds – around £200 million we believe – for innovation in the region, spanning the priority industry sectors of oil and gas, agri-food, biopharmaceuticals and including big data and internationalisation.
“The oil and gas innovation funds will help to create an international Oil and Gas Technology Centre which will support Maximising Economic Recovery in the North Sea and help to transition Aberdeen from an operational base to a major, international centre for offshore technology and innovation. This will anchor the supply chain here for the long term.
“An early solutions programme will develop new technology to increase production in the North Sea and work with SMEs will stimulate innovation, bring technology to market and expand our supply chain exports.
“We strongly supported Aberdeen Harbour Board’s Nigg development, which we see as game changing for the region, and welcome the commitment for this strategic infrastructure project.
“With regard to the current challenges facing our oil and gas industry, it is extremely encouraging to have the Prime Minister visit Aberdeen to speak to industry first-hand about the specific impacts of the downturn in this region.
“We look forward to hearing of initiatives he might announce today and to the Chancellor’s budget in March for further measures that can be taken to help the industry though these difficult times.”