Scotland hikes oil & gas innovation spend

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed new figures showing oil and gas innovation spend in Scotland almost trebled last year.

According to a Tuesday statement by the Scottish Government, funding of £15.9 million from Scottish Enterprise supported 82 companies to deliver 111 innovation projects with a combined value of £43 million to develop and maintain companies’ global competitiveness. This compares to a total value of £14.5 million of projects during 2015/16.

The figures exceed a commitment by the Scottish Government to provide £10 million to support higher levels of innovation activity within the industry to ensure its long-term sustainability, the government said. Companies have used the fund for a range of innovation projects, including the development of new technology to improve efficiency and to contribute to a new subsea Centre of Excellence.

The First Minister highlighted the figures during her speech at the Oil & Gas UK Conference in Aberdeen on Tuesday.

In front of an audience of industry experts and stakeholders, Sturgeon stressed innovation was the key to future success in the North Sea.

Commenting on the figures, the First Minister said: “This investment by Scottish Enterprise highlights that Scotland is continuing to lead the way in making oil and gas one of this country’s great success stories.

“Innovation is absolutely crucial to the sector for maximizing economic recovery, reducing costs without compromising safety, and for enabling our supply chain to continue to win new business overseas. Ultimately, it is key to ensuring the sustainability of the North Sea oil and gas industry for the future.

“The leaders of innovation will always be oil and gas companies themselves, however there is an important role for government, working in partnership with business. That’s why the Scottish Government has already committed £10 million to support higher levels of innovation activity within the industry to ensure its international competitiveness, alongside an additional £90 million over the next ten years to develop our oil and gas technology center and a recently-announced £5 million Decommissioning Challenge Fund.

“These measures, alongside continued support from this government, will ensure that the industry will continue to deliver benefits for decades to come.”

Scottish Enterprise director of energy, Maggie McGinlay, added: “Through the Energy Jobs Taskforce, we committed last February to support the supply chain to invest in higher levels of innovation and that’s exactly what we’ve done. These are innovation projects that are happening in Scotland that simply would not have taken place if we didn’t support them.

“For decades, Scotland has excelled in oil and gas innovation which has been recognized right across the globe. Working closely with our partners, such as the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre and the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, we will continue to encourage and support Scotland’s supply chain to deliver forward thinking, ambitious innovation projects.”