Salmond Backs Carbon Capture As Key To Oil And Gas Development

"The real task is not to close down the North Sea but to make its continued development compatible with the future of the planet."

Former First Minister and Alba Party leader Alex Salmond has called for the go ahead of North Sea Development with a net zero obligation attached to each oil and gas consent.

The Alba Party leader believes that all new licences for extraction should be granted to create the world’s first net zero drilling projects to be achieved by rapid development of a carbon capture pipeline network and an obligation placed on each company to offset any remaining carbon.

Mr Salmond’s comments come as a new poll by Survation, commissioned by True North, showed that 74% of Scots want to see demand for oil and gas met from domestic production and 54% think it is right to grant new oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

The latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures, published last week, showed that Scotland’s share of oil and gas revenues rose to a record £9.4 billion in the past financial year.

Salmond wants to see potential revenues from the new fields fund a “credible transition” away from oil and gas. He says that such projects should be given a green light by putting in place carbon reduction requirements as part of their licence to give the go-ahead for projects that can commit to Net Zero emissions.

Mr Salmond said; "New fields should be licensed but with a condition for them to be a zero carbon development. This can be achieved by carbon capture - a technology Scotland could still be the world leader in if the UK Government would at last put its money where its mouth is and return a bare fraction of oil revenues for a rapid development of a carbon capture network.

"Successive UK Governments since 2005 have betrayed North Sea workers by dragging their feet on carbon capture and even now the welcome green light to the St Fergus Acorn project is merely an invitation to bid for finance, not a firm commitment to investment.

"The contrast between the remarks of Humza Yousaf and US Special Envoy John Kerry this week could not be more telling. While Yousaf makes a blanket attack on new consents Kerry is now stressing the potential of carbon capture.

"And yet the potential and credible success of large scale carbon capture is greater in the North Sea geology than in any other other oil province, as Equinor has already demonstrated with the Sleipner field.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf has said that granting new licences for North Sea extraction was “climate denial”, however Salmond has said that not to embrace new technology to unleash the vast resources of the North Sea would be “the denial of economic reality.” And that the “real task is not to close down the North Sea but to make its continued development compatible with the future of the planet."

Commenting former First Minister and ALBA Party Leader Alex Salmond said;

"Scotland should be aiming to mobilise the remainder of oil and gas, which is substantial, to help finance and power the next phase of the renewables revolution in Scotland. Shutting down the North Sea by a presumption against development is a denial of economic reality. It would put one hundred thousand people out of work, it would increase the Carbon foot print by importing LPG which is twice as carbon intensive as North Sea gas.

"Scotland needs a thought-out plan for the future of the North Sea that delivers for our people and the planet, not parroting other peoples’ campaign slogans that deliver catchy sound bites but not adequate solutions for the gravity of the task at hand.

"John Kerry has become significantly more positive about carbon capture while Humza Yousaf should understand that, if it had not been for successive betrayals by Labour and Tory Governments since 2005, carbon capture and a hydrogen based economy would not be a matter of debate in Scotland but an established, world leading and planet saving fact.

"Equinor have the world’s first commercial and successful carbon capture facility in Sleipner. They are also the developers for Rosebank. Approving a world first mandated net zero project at Rosebank would protect Scottish jobs, provide sizeable revenues for an independent Scotland to benefit from, and importantly, it would allow for a credible transition away from hydrocarbons in the future. The current development plans of Rosebank project a reduction in carbon produced to 3kg per barrel compared to a North Sea average of 20kg. Consent should be granted on condition that this figure reaches zero. It would be far better to find a zero carbon route from gas development as we shift the emphasis into the renewables revolution.

"The SNP might now be embarrassed to say that “ It’s Scotland’s Oil “ but after years of Scotland’s natural resources being wasted by Westminster, we need the Scottish Government to get itself back onto a sensible footing that supports the utilisation of the benefits Scotland’s natural resources bring and doesn’t abandon many of the communities that strong support for independence was built upon.

Humza Yousaf should right now get on the front foot, demand immediate, accelerated and large scale investment in the Acorn Carbon Capture project at St Fergus and he should put the Scottish Government’s support behind making continued oil and gas development compatible with the planet’s future instead of parroting equivocal nonsense from the Labour Party or absolutism from the Greens."

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