Carbon capture still key priority
Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, has confirmed that carbon capture and storage plans in the north-east are not reliant on UK Government support.
The Scottish Government announced funding towards a feasibility study for CCS at St Fergus earlier this month.
But uncertainty still surrounds the UK Government’s position on the technology after proposals for a £1bn scheme at Peterhead were suddenly scrapped in 2015.
Now Mr Wheelhouse has insisted the SNP is determined to push ahead with developing the technology, with or without UK sup- port. He said: “It wouldn’t kibosh plans if the UK government was not on board, but it would be much more unhelpful if we can’t get their support.
“We’re working with partners and industry around the world to try and make this happen and the FM has indicated we’re prepared to put some money in to keep pushing forward the business case in Scotland.
“If we have to, we will try and do it ourselves.”
Mr Wheelhouse is convinced Scotland should make the most of the infrastructure available around the oil and gas industry to become a global leader in CCS, working in partnership with Europe and Canada.
He added: “Everything suggests CCS could be an influential technology globally and we could export expertise around the world.
“We believe other countries around the world have smaller-scale opportunities, but we have the possibility for a large-scale development at Peterhead.
“Officials are studying what’s going on elsewhere and we have ongoing dialogue, not just in Europe but also Canada, where they have a strong interest.”
Mr Wheelhouse maintained he still wanted to get the UK Government on board with plans and work together.
He said: “We’re trying to work on persuading UK ministers that CCS is a great opportunity.
“Feedback from officials has been that the UK Government is keeping its cards close to its chest and there is a sense the country could be an opportunity taker rather than opportunity maker.
“There’s a lot of international interest and I think Scotland has an excellent opportunity if we can get support from UK Ministers.”
A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said there would be an announcement on CCS soon.