£10m fund ‘to drive innovation in the oil and gas industry’

Scotland’s energy minister Fergus Ewing today invited applications for funding from a £10m fund to support innovation in the oil and gas sector.

The first call, open to the first round of applications, will be for projects aimed at improving the integrity and reliability of assets in the oil and gas industry.

According to a statement, projects funded under the scheme will help ensure that offshore assets can continue to run effectively and safely in the future, through inspection, change management and analysis of their future integrity.

The Innovation Fund will be operated by Scottish Enterprise in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF), a not-for-profit organisation owned by 30 operator and service company members who will engage with industry to prioritise areas for innovation.

Ewing said: ‘We know that Scotland’s oil and gas sector leads the world.

‘With more than half of the value of the North Sea’s oil and gas reserves yet to be extracted, up to 24 billion recoverable barrels with a potential wholesale value of £1.5tn, oil and gas will remain an enormous economic resource for decades to come.

‘We know that there is a great future in oil and gas, and the sector is no stranger to innovation… Awards made under this fund will help drive that innovation and preserve the vital infrastructure of the industry — the cables, pipes and platforms — to ensure they continue to operate safely and efficiently for the recovery of oil and gas reserves for decades to come.’

Today’s announcement has not been welcomed by WWF Scotland’s director, Dr Richard Dixon, who said the funding would be better allocated elsewhere.

‘We need to ensure the world switches on to clean, job-creating renewable energy sources by turning off the tap of money going to dirty oil and gas,’ he said in a statement. ‘If renewables are not to be undermined, we should be using public money to create a low-carbon future, not to prop up the profits of oil companies.’