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North Sea commitment

Wood chief says oil and gas still part of energy mix

Robin Watson

Robin Watson: ‘we have to keep the lights on’ (pic: Terry Murden)

An energy services leader said investing in the oil and gas sector will need to continue as the industry makes the shift to cleaner fuel sources.

Robin Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen-based Wood, said that as a proportion of the company’s activities oil and gas had fallen sharply from 90% to about 30% in recent years.

The North Sea now accounted for about 7%, but that did not mean Wood was abandoning the region.

He told the COP26 Edinburgh Summit, organised by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, that there was sufficient talent in the industry to ensure a successful transition to new energy sources, but in the meantime oil and gas would continue to play a key role.

“We need to keep the lights on,” he said. “What gives me hope is the ingenuity of our people to solve these problems. The pandemic has taught us to listen to our engineers and technologists.”

Wood has reached an agreement to work with the HYGEN business led by JCB heir Jo Bamford to develop hydrogen production plants across the UK as part of its increasing investment in new energy industries.

On Wednesday Malcolm Forbes-Cable, vice president, energy consulting at energy consultancy Wood MacKenzie, told the summit: “We have to be realistic about the transition.

“This is not me trying to sustain the oil industry, but to say stop investing instantly would mean we just import more oil – and more dirtier oil.

“Eighty per cent of our energy demand comes from hydrocarbons. It is an inconvenient truth and we have to manage our way out of it.”

Kerry – rich nations will support poor

US climate envoy John Kerry told a dinner at the COP26 summit in Glasgow that richer nations are capable of delivering $100bn to developing countries every year from 2022 to help them deal with climate change.

He said the countries could reach the target, which was agreed in Paris, next year, despite recent estimates that it would have to wait until 2023.

Mr Kerry said: “No COP in history has had the feel of what I feel in Glasgow here today – new energy, new urgency, a new sense of possibility – and we have never had as much corporate presence and commitment as we have today.

“I believe that we are going to be able to raise the ambition beyond anything we imagined – already we have finance that is very significant.”

However, he warned that “no government in the world has enough money” to cope with climate change, and that trillions in private finance needs to be unlocked.

Calling on business to play its part in financing developing nations, he said: “Here’s the deal, no government in the world has enough money to effect this transition,” Kerry stated. “The UN tells us that this transition already has a finance gap of somewhere between $2.6trn and $4.6trn a year.

“So billions don’t cut it, we need trillions.”

See also

First all-electric flights likely to be in Scotland

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