Six major international firms have today announced investments in fossil fuel energy projects in the UK at the British Business Embassy summit in London.
Chancellor George Osborne and Business Secretary Vince Cable welcomed the investments, which include £60 million from BP for a new International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM).
The BP-ICAM will bring together the Universities of Manchester, Cambridge and Imperial College London, as well as and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to undertake research in advanced materials with improved toughness, hardness, durability and elasticity, which are crucial to many energy applications.
Meanwhile, up to 4000 jobs will be secured by a GDF SUEZ, Centrica and Bayerngas £1.4 billion to extract shallow water gas from an 18 billion m3 field under the North Sea.
Other investments include Italian chemical producer Versalis, which will commit €50-60 million to expand elastomer production in Scotland, and UK companies Neftex, Tangent Technologies and Melrose Resources.
After Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg underlined the government’s commitment to renewable energy yesterday at the meeting, today the focus by Osborne and Cable was somewhat different.
“The oil and gas industry’s immense contribution to our skills base, industrial capacity and strength as an exporter are pivotal as we rebalance our economy. Today’s summit underlines the Government’s commitment to making the UK a great place for energy firms to do business, develop new technologies and recruit the best technicians and engineers,” said Cable.
And Energy Secretary Ed Davey added:
“The North Sea remains a vital source of the nation’s energy security… The government is determined to maintain the best possible investment environment to ensure we capitalise fully on this national asset.”
But critics will no doubt see the announcements as further evidence of the government’s continuing ‘dash for gas’.
For further information:
UK government unveils £100 million fund for green investment (6-Aug)
UK Energy Bill will deter investment and add costs, warns committee (23-Jul)
UK government unveils ‘guarantees’ scheme to boost investment (19-Jul)
UK reports 36% growth in renewables capacity in 12 months (2-Jul)
07 August 2012