THE Scottish Government has launched a £62 million Energy Transition Fund to help the North Sea oil and gas industry cope with the fallout from the coronavirus and support the development of low carbon energy sources, writes Mark Williamson.

The Government said the fund would help firms respond to the operational challenges posed by the coronavirus and resulting plunge in commodity prices and to diversify over the next five years into areas such as renewable energy.

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The Government hopes it will help attract private sector investment in support of the drive to establish North East Scotland as a leading centre of activity in the global drive to achieve net zero. Many oil and gas firms are based in the area.

The fund is expected to support the development of technologies in areas such as hydrogen fuel production and carbon capture and storage.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Aberdeen is recognised globally as a centre of excellence in oil and gas and this funding will help ensure that the knowledge, skills and expertise it has to offer will play a vital role in the energy transition.

Industry body Oil & Gas UK said the launch of the fund was good news for jobs, supply chain companies and energy communities.

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Oil services tycoon Sir Ian Wood, who chairs the Opportunity North East development body, said the fund could help strengthen the area’s growing position as a global integrated energy transition cluster and create a lot of jobs over the next 20 years.

In April Oil & Gas UK warned that up to 30,000 jobs could be lost in the wider North Sea supply chain over the following 18 months.

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The Government said the Energy Transition Fund could support the development of facilities such as subsea engineering and hydrogen hubs and the Acorn carbon capture and storage scheme. The funding may be used on projects led by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre’s Net Zero Solution Centre.