THE strength of Scotland’s oil and gas industry could help the country play a significant role in the effort to tackle climate change, one of the sector’s most successful entrepreneurs has suggested.

Offshore engineering tycoon Sir Ian Wood said oil and gas industry expertise should help speed the development of technologies that could have a big impact on the drive to reduce carbon emissions.

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Noting that pioneering floating windfarms are under development off North East Scotland, Sir Ian observed: “Through applying our oil and gas experience, we have an opportunity to become the world leader in floating offshore wind installations.”

Sir Ian said the area’s proven oil and gas capabilities could definitely be applied in carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) projects. The Acorn project at the St Fergus gas terminal near Peterhead is expected to demonstrate how oil and gas facilities such as pipelines and depleted fields could be used to develop CCUS schemes quickly.

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Sir Ian told the Offshore Europe industry event that in order to achieve official ambitions to reduce carbon emissions to zero, net of those absorbed, oil and gas production should be maximised while new energy sources are developed.

“What is clear is that oil and gas will continue to make up a sizeable part of the energy mix as the world requires affordable and reliable energy to meet growing demand,” said Sir Ian.

“So frankly it’s very frustrating to hear the climate change activists saying we need to stop hydrocarbon production now or in the near future.”

Sir Ian added: “From very rough estimates, by 2050 renewables will only be meeting two thirds of our energy requirements.”

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Sir Ian chairs the Opportunity North East economic development body after growing the Aberdeen-based Wood group into a leading oil services group.

On Tuesday trade body Oil & Gas UK said the industry could continue to provide secure energy supply, support net-zero and remain a vital contributor to the economy.

Oil & Gas UK said the industry was in the best shape for years following efforts by firms to cut costs and increase efficiency amid the downturn triggered by the crude price plunge from 2014.