Despite lower wholesale prices for oil and gas, first minister makes bid for bright future in North Sea Oil
FIRST MINISTER Nicola Sturgeon opened the new headquarters of Statoil in Aberdeen, as she made the case for how the Scottish Government planned to support the oil and gas industry and bring long term stability.
The Norwegian Energy titan defied the current downward trend of wholesale oil and gas prices and has begun plans to employ up to 200 employees onshore and up to 500 people offshore by 2018.
The new Statoil headquarters will be part of the company’s plans to expand its operation in the North Sea creating more than 1,000 jobs to support the the company's supply chain.
The company has invested in expansion in to both oil, gas and renewables Scottish Government capitalised on as an example of "the versatility of Scotland’s energy sector."
"Statoil has a long term commitment to Scotland and to the UK Continental Shelf, as this new operations centre visibly demonstrates." Hedda Felin
The First Minister, who announced that 600 people have had applications approved for the three-year Transition Training Fund, 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.
"Last week’s 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 Agencies 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."
"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." Nicola Sturgeon
Sturgeon also pointed to StatOil’s renewable investments, which come in the form of offshore wind through the Hywind project off the coast of Peterhead which is the world’s first floating offshore wind development.
With the fall in commodity prices for oil and gas hitting the Scottish oil and gas sector hard, data from Shell from 2015 to 2016 suggested that more than 65,000 jobs have already been lost in the sector.
The First Minister also announced that up to 70 innovation projects totalling up to £16m in value have been in part down to a £7m grant by Scottish Government to help firms during research and development.
She additionally pledged a further £1.1m to support what she called "business resilience" in the oil and gas industry, a move first called for by the Scottish Greens and covered by CommonSpace.
Hedda Felin, 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."
Picture courtesy of Kirsty Blackman
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