Energy Minister Fergus Ewing today invited applications for funding from a £10 million fund to support innovation in the Oil and Gas sector.

Increasing investment in the Oil and Gas sector was a key component of the Scottish Government’s Oil and Gas strategy, developed in conjunction with industry and published earlier this year.

Mr Ewing announced that the fund is now open to the first round of applications. The first call will be for projects looking at improving the integrity and reliability of assets in the oil and gas industry.

Projects funded under the scheme will help ensure offshore assets can continue to run effectively and safely in the future, through inspection, change management, and analysis of their future integrity.

The Innovation Fund will be operated by Scottish Enterprise in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) who will engage with industry to prioritise areas for innovation.

This is the first of a series of calls for bids under the fund.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“We know that Scotland’s oil and gas sector leads the world. With more than half of the value of the North Sea’s oil and gas reserves yet to be extracted, up to 24 billion recoverable barrels with a potential wholesale value of £1.5 trillion, oil and gas will remain an enormous economic resource for decades to come.

“The Scottish Government’s Oil and Gas Strategy, announced earlier this year and developed in conjunction with industry, lays out a plan to help the industry go from strength to strength.

“This funding is a key component of that strategy, and meets a real need.”

“We know that there is a great future in oil and gas, and the sector is no stranger to innovation, with the great strides the industry has taken helping to secure our place at the lead of the global industry.

“The awards made under this fund will help drive that innovation and preserve the vital infrastructure of the industry – the cables, pipes and platforms – to ensure they continue to operate safely and efficiently for the recovery of oil and gas reserves for decades to come.

David Rennie, director, Oil and Gas, Thermal Generation and CCS, Scottish Enterprise said:

“Scotland’s hugely successful oil & gas sector has a crucial role to play in our economic success and increasing and accelerating innovation in the industry, as highlighted in the industry led oil and gas strategy document published earlier this year, will be key to this.

“We know that many of our assets in the North Sea are already – or are close to – operating beyond their original design life. To ensure we capitalise effectively on the future potential we know exists in Scotland’s oil fields it’s vitally important that our assets are secure for the future. This call will help to foster innovation and provide funding for ideas to help bring them to market more quickly. ”