Maximising the future of oil and gas

The First Minister has launched an oil and gas industry strategy for 2020 and beyond.

An oil and gas industry strategy for Scotland, targeting higher long-term recovery rates, greater exports and £30 billion annual sales by 2020, was published by the First Minister today.

Alex Salmond unveiled the industry blueprint at Hydrasun, a fast-growing Aberdeen-based company providing fluid transfer, power and control products to the oil and gas sector and other industries, which employs around 600 people today compared to 200 ten years ago.

Oil and gas is the largest industry sector in the UK, contributing almost a fifth of all corporation tax paid to the UK Treasury and supporting 440,000 jobs - nearly half of them in Scotland.

Over four decades, 40 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) have been recovered from the North Sea, delivering £300 billion in revenues to the UK Government.

The wholesale value of reserves remaining to be extracted is estimated to be up to £1.5 trillion.

The strategy - developed and to be delivered by industry, Scottish Government and public sector partners - aims to build on four decades of unprecedented economic success to secure future growth at home and abroad. It identifies six priorities for action to:

* Strengthen domestic supply chain - with greater focus on resource recovery and targeting £30 billion in total annual sales by 2020;
* Increase proportion of sales from exports - so international activity, having risen from 31 to 46 per cent from 2002 to 2010, reaches 60 per cent (£18 billion) by 2020;
* Identify clear priorities for innovation and accelerating technology deployment - including long-term research & development plan and greater co-ordination of public funds to support rise in recovery rates with a minimum long-term target of 50 per cent;
* Promote new and emerging opportunities for supply chain companies - for example in offshore wind, carbon capture & storage (CCS) and decommissioning;
* Ensure sector attracts young people and supports increase in skills availability - emphasising long-term nature of industry and, through closer liaison between sector employers and with education institutions, better-identify specific needs for provision;
* Continue to promote Scotland as key location for O&G investment - through communications and support for key infrastructure projects.

The First Minister also announced that Scottish Enterprise will make up to £10 million available to support innovation in the sector over three years, while Scottish Development International (SDI) is to boost activities in key emerging markets, Brazil, Norway and west Africa, building on the recent establishment of an SDI base in Calgary, Canada.

He said: "Oil and Gas is one of Scotland's greatest industrial success stories, having transformed the economic well-being of the UK over the last 40 years.

"With as much as £1.5 trillion of oil remaining to be extracted from reserves around these islands, an increasingly buoyant export sector now reaching 100 different countries, and emerging opportunities to deploy the sector's vast expertise in other offshore projects, the industry has a bright future.

"The strategy identifies key actions which can maximise future opportunities, for example, by helping the industry secure the necessary human capital and skills, by supporting innovation and technology deployment to boost recovery rates, by assisting more companies into new markets and by delivering investment in key infrastructure.

"Clearly the industry requires a stable taxation and regulatory regime to provide confidence and encourage long-term investments, something the Scottish Government has consistently supported - indirectly and directly in discussions with Ministers in London - and which we will continue to do so in the future.

"We will continue to work closely with the sector to deliver excellent services, drive growth and support the on-going success of an industry that has powered the economies of Scotland and the UK over the last 40 years, and which can continue to be a key driver of prosperity in these islands well into the middle of this century.

"I am particularly grateful to the Oil and Gas Industry Leadership Group (ILG) - co-chaired by Melfort Campbell and our Energy & Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing - for leading the development of this Strategy and for the key role it will play in delivering it.

"I'm also delighted to meet the management and workers at Hydrasun - an exciting Scottish growth company who exemplify the spirit of enterprise and innovation that exists across the sector and which the Strategy aims to drive forward still further."

The Oil and Gas Strategy 2012-2020: Maximising our Future' is available at: http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/~/media/SE/Resources/Documents/MNO/Oi...