Car­bon cap­ture still key pri­or­ity

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY JENNIFER MCKIERNAN

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.

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