Humza Yousaf held talks with North-east business leaders yesterday in an effort to reset the relationship between government and industry.

The new first minister discussed the energy transition with Sir Ian Wood and senior figures from Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Port of Aberdeen, Opportunity North East and Energy Transition Zone Ltd.

Mr Yousaf - who travelled north with his new Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition, Mairi McAllan - said he wanted to “send a really strong signal” that the economy of the North-east of Scotland is a “priority” for him.

He also discussed in more detail some of the positions he set-out in his letter to the Chamber in the run-up to his appointment last week.

The roundtable was part of the new SNP leader's visit to Aberdeen South Harbour yesterday to witness, first hand, how the port's £400million expansion project will support the North Sea Just Transition.

During the visit, Mr Yousaf announced that the energy transition across the North-east will be further boosted by £25million from the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund.

The £500 million, 10-year Just Transition Fund was established to accelerate the energy transition in Aberdeen and the North-east, and establish the region as a world-leader in the transition to a net zero economy.

Delivery is ongoing of projects from year one of the Just Transition Fund, backed by £50million of multi-year capital grant funding, including a skills passport for offshore energy workers, work to develop supply chain pathways, promotion of emerging technologies, and investment in community projects like ecovillages and local climate assemblies.

The Scottish National Investment Bank will use this latest funding to leverage further private investment in the energy transition across the North-east.

The First Minister said: “Delivering on our climate obligations is an absolute priority for this government – but so too is our unwavering commitment to ensuring the journey to net zero is fair and just for everyone.

“Scotland is an energy-rich nation and the oil and gas industry has made a vast contribution to our economy, while its workers are some of the most highly-skilled in the world.

“But Scotland’s oil and gas basin is now a mature resource and, as a responsible government, we must take action to ensure the sector, and the communities it supports, are supported in a transition to cleaner, greener energy system.

“The North-east has long been known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. It can now become the net zero capital of the world."

Bob Sanguinetti, Chief Executive of the Port of Aberdeen, said: “Port of Aberdeen has been at the heart of the nation’s energy industry for more than 50 years and our vision is to become Scotland’s premier net zero port. Our transformational South Harbour expansion will help make that a reality.

"The Scottish National Investment Bank has invested £35million in the project, which supports the just transition and will unlock growth in offshore wind, hydrogen, and decommissioning. The cash injection announced by the Scottish Government today will provide vital support to others in advancing their energy transition efforts.”

Ryan Crighton, Policy Director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, added: "It was great to meet our new first minister at Port of Aberdeen. In the run-up to his appointment, we asked for a reset of the relationship between government and business. Too often policy debates have been fractious and counterproductive.

"To his credit, and after just one week in the job, he was in the north-east to meet with business leaders to discuss how we navigate the energy transition in a manner which will grow investment and jobs here.

"He seemed open to a more pragmatic view on oil and gas as part of that transition, and cognisant of the huge role our world class offshore industry has in both delivering energy security today, and the transformative technologies of tomorrow. It is a a very positive start."

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