Exclusive: Sturgeon to laud jump in oil innovation spending at OGUK conference

New figures from Scottish Enterprise (SE) show spending on oil and gas innovation in Scotland nearly trebled last year.

An investment of just under £16million delivered more than 110 projects, with a combined value of £43.million.

The total includes SE’s £4.9million contribution to the new subsea centre of excellence being established in East Kilbride, near Glasgow.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon will announce the figures during a speech at the Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) Conference in Aberdeen today.

Ms Sturgeon is expected to say the overall investment by SE shows how Scotland “is continuing to lead the way in making oil and gas one of this country’s great success stories”.

She will also highlight innovation as “absolutely crucial” to the offshore sector in terms of maximising economic recovery, reducing costs without compromising safety and allowing the supply chain to continue to win new business overseas.

And she is expected to spell out the importance of innovation in “ensuring the sustainability of the North Sea oil and gas industry for the future”.

The latest value for innovation projects SE has invested in eclipses the £14.5million total in 2015/16.

Ms Sturgeon will highlight the work the Scottish Government is doing in partnership with business to support further innovation.

In particular, she is expected to outline the government’s £10million commitment to support higher levels of innovation activity within the industry to boost international competitiveness.

This is on top of £90million over the next 10 years to develop the Aberdeen-based oil and gas technology centre and the recently-announced £5million Decommissioning Challenge Fund.

These measures, alongside continued support from the government, will make sure the industry continues to “deliver benefits for decades to come” the first minister is expected to tell OGUK conference delegates today.

SE director of energy Maggie McGinlay said the quango had delivered on its commitment to support the oil and gas supply chain to invest in innovation through the Energy Jobs Taskforce.

Ms McGinlay added: “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 recognised 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.”

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