European Commissioner To See Scotland's Energy Potential

18 January 2006

European Energy Commission Andris Piebalgs is to visit Scotland inJuly 2006 to see the future of Scotland's energy resources.

Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith invited Commissioner Piebalgsto visit Scotland and see our energy potential. The visit comes asthe Commission considers a strategy for safeguarding Europe's energy supplies and as the recent dispute between Russia and the Ukraineover gas supplies highlights Europe's reliance on energy imports.

Commissioner Piebalgs visit follows a meeting arranged by Mr Smith between the Commissioner and representatives of Scotland's energyindustry, including Talisman and Scottish and Southern Energy.Commissioner Piebalgs has expressed particular interest in seeing theoffshore wind developments at the Beatrice field and the CarbonCapture developments taking place at Peterhead.

Speaking from Brussels Mr Smith who is also the party's spokesman for Europe said

"I am pleased that Commissioner Piebalgs has accepted this invitationand look forward to showing him the best that Scotland has to offerin energy technology.

"Scotland is well recognised as having significant energy potential,both in our oil and gas fields and through our huge renewable energyresources.

"Innovative and unique developments such as the offshore wind farm inthe Moray Firth and carbon capture at Peterhead demonstrate thepotential Scotland has to contribute to Europe's energy future.

"With investment in the right places Scotland can be a European and aworld leader in energy technology, that is what I want theCommissioner to see. We are proud of our energy industry and I hopethis will help to ensure the support the industry needs to maintainits position."

SNP Energy Spokesman Richard Lochhead MSP said

"Bringing the Commissioner to Scotland offers Scots industry thechance to influence EU Energy policy, to demonstrate our expertiseand to lead the way in Europe on the future of energy supply.

"There are many issues facing the supply of energy. Scotland is in asituation where we can meet our own needs and with investment in theright places will continue to be able to supply our own energydemands as well as export any surplus."