THERE is no city in the United Kingdom, perhaps Europe, more closely associated with the word “innovation” than Aberdeen. Longer-term history apart, that status is guaranteed by almost half a century of close relationship with the oil and gas industry, the continuing success of which is utterly dependent on constant innovation. It is tempting in an environment of ongoing change and further sophistication of equipment and techniques to take what has gone before for granted. Why would anyone stop to ponder the extraordinary evolution which has occurred, within a relatively short space of time, to take us to the point that has now been reached? Yet, in the interests of future understanding, it is essential to do so. That was the thinking which underpinned the establishment of “Capturing the Energy”, an extremely complex and challenging archiving project which has been developing from its base within Aberdeen University for the past decade. It was my privilege, as a recently retired UK Energy Minister who had done my best for the interests of the North Sea industry, to speak at the inaugural conference in 2006 and to be made patron of the project – not, I should hastily add, an onerous role! One summary of what “Capturing the Energy” is about noted: “As the home of the industrial revolution, the United Kingdom has unparalleled archive records of world pioneering industries such as steel, textiles and banking … These records are a national cultural asset. “They offer society a tangible understanding of the local, national and international importance of a business and industry. “‘Capturing the Energy’ wants to work with this industry to ensure that an equally rich body of paper and electronic records are preserved and exploited for the industry’s gain and benefit of society.” When historic industries were taking shape, there was a culture of writing everything down in the old way. Even during the first few decades of the North Sea, typewriters now found only in museums would have been the nearest thing to communications technology. A project like this serves as a reminder of how much the world has changed, so quickly – and how professions like archivists have to keep up. “Capturing the Energy” has relied hugely on the goodwill of all the industry participants – government, regulators, companies, supply chain and of course the men and women who worked in every aspect of it. Overwhelmingly, the necessary co-operation has been forthcoming. But this really is a project that prompts the question: “How long is a piece of string?”. It could go on for ever. One of the most tangible outcomes so far has been the Frigg Field archive, assembled and put on-line to coincide with Frigg’s 30th anniversary, with massive inputs from both the UK and Norwegian sides of the North Sea divide. Of course, it tells not only the technical story but also embraces the experiences of the people who worked there over these three decades In general, “Capturing the Energy” will be a permanent reminder of how Aberdeen gained the status of Innovation City of Europe and one of the great oil and gas capitals of the world. It is a story which is not only about the past or the present but will surely inspire innovators of the future.