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Experts seek to shape bright future for North Sea

Businesses and researchers are coming together to identify opportunities for economic development in the North Sea.

An industry event will discuss how decommissioning of oil and gas platforms – estimated to cost more than £50 billion – is making areas of the North Sea more available for traditional and new industries.

This could lead to opportunities in areas such as fishing, shipping, renewable energy or large-scale fish farming.

It could also enable developments in subsea cabling, marine biotechnology or maritime defence surveillance.

Pooled knowledge

Experts will discuss how effective collection and sharing of environmental data by industry, government agencies and researchers could inform decisions on the best approach to decommissioning.

Research could also aid the licensing of new activities.

This would enable new developments to be made with minimal environmental impact, to protect the ecology and the economic potential of the sea.

Scotland’s expertise in offshore wind, aquaculture and North Sea engineering means it is well placed to capitalise on such opportunities.

Continual growth

Sensitively managed decommissioning in the North Sea would support economic growth and sustainable development, the European Maritime Day conference in Poole, Dorset, will hear.

Opportunities for development will be discussed at a workshop at the event on 18 May, featuring representatives from BP, the Crown Estate, European Marine Board and others.

Oceans are under greater pressure than ever from economic activity and climate change, and it is important that we manage this important resource carefully. If industry, government and academia get together to generate and share information, we can ensure that best knowledge supports sustainable economic marine development.

Professor Murray RobertsSchool of GeoSciences