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Technip to Locate its North Sea Offshore Renewables Head Office in Aberdeen

Technip First Minister Alex Salmond today undertook a series of high-level meetings with senior executives from France's financial services and energy industries and the country's Minister for European Affairs.

He held round-table discussions with French energy firms working in subsea and marine renewables.

Mr Salmond also welcomed the decision of French energy engineering and construction company Technip to locate its North Sea offshore renewables head office in Aberdeen.

Technip, which already employs around 800 people in Aberdeen, confirmed the decision as it hosted a round-table meeting with Scotland's First Minister and senior executives of leading French companies involved in renewable energy development at its global headquarters in Paris.

Mr Salmond urged the executives attending the meeting to seize the unprecedented opportunities to develop renewables and carbon capture & storage off Scotland's coast.

He said:

"I'm very pleased to meet key figures from the leading companies in France's energy sector and delighted that Technip are continuing to seize the opportunities available in Scotland and further investing in renewable energy developments.

"Technip's decision to base its offshore renewables operations in Aberdeen is a huge vote of confidence in Scotland's position as a global leader in renewables innovation, and underlines the massive wealth of human capital and energy and engineering knowledge in the north-east. We expect thousands of jobs to be created in Scotland in the next few years as a result of expansion in the renewable energy sector, and decisions like this will help ensure that those expectations are realised in terms of both job creation and investment.

"The Scottish Government is working with global energy companies to harness clean, green energy and meet our climate change targets that are the toughest in the industrialised world.

In our offshore wind sector - where Scotland has an estimated one-quarter of Europe's potential capacity - tens of billions of pounds are expected to be invested across 12 sites over the next decade. Scottish waters also provide the potential to generate up to one-quarter of the continent's tidal power and one-tenth of its wave power.

"The marine renewables industry needs a continuous flow of new ideas to fully flourish. The European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney provides the world's only accredited test facility for wave and tidal energy devices and we have announced plans to further promote advances in these technologies with a global innovation award, the £10 million Saltire Prize.

"Scotland has around 60GW of potential renewable energy capacity - ten times our peak demand - and an offshore storage capacity for carbon emissions greater than the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany combined. With such abundant natural resources, we must continue to collaborate with international energy companies to ensure Scotland's opportunity becomes the world's opportunity and that we continue to work with other nations to meet the global challenge of climate change."

Thierry Pilenko, Chairman and CEO of Technip, added:

"Technip is a world leader in the fields of project management, engineering and construction for the oil & gas industry but is also committed to implementing expertise from its core business in service of renewable energies. In this context, the Group's operating centre in Aberdeen will be able to capitalize on its expertise in offshore operations, fleet management and project execution to tackle the challenges of the renewable energy industry and succeed in its new assignment."

Duncan Botting, Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish European Green Energy Centre, said:

"Decarbonisation of our energy supplies requires rapid demonstration and deployment of new low carbon technologies over the next decade. Scotland offers a wealth of expertise across the innovation chain and has the ideal natural conditions to demonstrate the wind, wave, tidal and carbon storage technologies that are vital to Europe's low carbon future. French energy companies are already major investors in Scotland and today's discussions mark the beginning of a new phase in our relationship - one that will deliver the investment in low carbon energy supplies that is vital for Scotland, France and the EU."

The First Minister today held a round-table meeting of French energy company executives to outline the multi-million pound opportunities - in innovation, production, supply-chain and delivery - in Scotland's growing renewables sector, including the Saltire Prize challenge to advance wave and tidal power technologies. A £10 million award will be given to the team that can demonstrate in Scottish waters a commercially-viable wave or tidal energy technology that achieves a minimum electrical output of 100GWh over a continuous two-year period using only the power of the sea and is judged to be the best overall technology after consideration of cost, environmental sustainability and safety.

Technip, a world leader in the fields of project management, engineering and construction for the oil & gas industry, is also committed to implementing expertise from its core business in service of renewable energies and CCS. The Group's operating centre in Aberdeen, Scotland, will now serve as its head office for offshore renewable energies in the North Sea , including wind development, capitalizing on Technip's expertise in offshore operations, fleet management and project execution. Other companies represented at today's meeting were: Alstom; Areva; Converteam; EDF; GDF; Nexans; Total; and Veolia.

Scotland is already on track to surpass its target of meeting 31 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2011 - an interim step towards achieving the 50 per cent target by 2020. Last year the Scottish Parliament passed a Climate Change Act which introducing legally-binding targets for Scotland to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent and 80 per cent by 2020 and 2050 respectively. Together with carbon capture, energy efficiency and carbon reduction in transport and land use, renewable energy generation forms a key part of Scotland's strategy to meet those targets.

The value of exported business & financial services from Scotland to France was £120m in 2008. The Scottish Government is providing £80,000 from its International Touring Fund to support the RSNO's performances in Europe.

The direct value of inward investment by French companies in Scotland was around £5m in 2006-07 but rose to just over £9.5m in 2008-09.

Recent examples of this investment include an announcement by energy group GDF Suez in July 2009 that it was setting up a UK exploration and production centre in Aberdeen - bringing 80 jobs to the city over 12 months.

Published 08/02/2010

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