Do you remember when oil was young? Flashback to 1973… the launch year of Offshore Europe.

Elton John’s Crocodile Rock topped the US charts, The Exorcist was just about to scare us all at the movies, and the good old Ford Cortina was the UK’s top selling car…

It was the year Aberdeen hit national headlines when a surge of women attending another congress in the city poured through the doors of The Grill bar demanding service in protest against the pub’s ‘men only’ policy.

Yes, we’re in a different world now and we’ve come a long way since the first click of cowboy boots on Union Street and the opening of the original ‘American School’ to cater for our new-found status as an emerging energy hub.

Oil and gas has been at the heart of every development in our city and we should never forget that. In the rush to reach net zero, there’s pressure - if not desperation - to shake off our reputation of ‘dirty old oil’.

I’d argue that we should never be ashamed to say where we’ve come from. After all, it’s through oil and gas that we’ve developed the skills, technologies and techniques that can transfer naturally to the new energy sectors.

It’s through oil and gas that we’ve become a global player, developing the international partnerships that are critical to advancing a meaningful energy transition. The standards set in the North Sea oil and gas industry are rightly recognised as world leading and we should be incredibly proud of that.

Fundamentally, oil and gas has helped us feed our kids and we can’t simply switch it off. It’s a critical element of the energy mix that will lead us through demand challenges and into a cleaner, greener future.

As delegates at SPE Offshore Europe this week will hear, we are making headway along the net zero roadmap as we seek to support emissions reduction across the supply chain.

We are seeing investment in exciting, new future-facing technologies and start-ups. There’s renewed confidence in carbon capture with the recent advancement of the Acorn Project.

We have momentum behind establishing a world-leading centre of excellence for the production and use of renewable energy.

Here and now, there’s clear evidence of transferable skills in action, with service providers demonstrating their ability to bring established technologies and expertise to any well, be it oil, gas, geothermal or carbon capture.

There’s never been such focus on the environment and I’d suggest that, far from wincing and holding our noses when oil and gas is mentioned, we should be proud of our heritage and be quick to demonstrate its relevance as we set out on the next 50 years.