More than100 North East business leaders heard first hand from a global energy business the tremendous potential of the region to develop excellence in a low carbon economy.

Guest speaker at the North East England Chamber of Commerce business summit, held at Teesside International Airport, was Louise Kingham, senior vice-president, bp Europe and head of country UK. She set out in clear terms the switch to low carbon from the UK’s traditional power sources, but also highlighted the opportunity it presented.

The global energy  company is developing a number of low carbon projects in the region, including leading a consortium of energy businesses on the multimillion-pound Net Zero Teesside Power scheme at Teesworks, a joint venture with Equinor which will build, a gas-fired power plant with carbon capture, utilisation and storage capabilities. It has also announced plans for H2Teesside, a blue hydrogen production facility, and HyGreen Teesside, a green hydrogen facility, which would be based in the region.

Read more: ADNOC and Masdar backing bp's hydrogen plants on Teesside

Louise said: “Working with our stakeholders, including Chamber member Equinor, our  Net Zero Teesside Power project alone would provide power to over 1.3m homes.  More broadly our projects have attracted substantial inward investment to the North East, including through recently announced partnerships with ADNOC – the Abu Dhabi National Oil and Gas Company – and Masdar. This region was at the heart of the first industrial revolution and it is now set to be at the heart of the energy transition revolution.”

As well as outlining the individual investment programmes, Louise Kingham also stressed the employment opportunities for local people including in the construction phase and  the supply chain. bp has plans in place to help communities train to be ready for jobs in this clean energy sector.

The guests also heard an update on the Teesside Freeport. Director Nolan Gray set out the important part it can play in helping to level up the region with the rest of the country.

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He also outlined all the opportunities available at the 4,500-acre Freeport, made up of tax and customs zones at sites across the Tees Valley. It is expected to create 18,000 jobs and drive billions into the economy over five years.

Chamber chief executive, John McCabe said: “This Business Summit has set out such a clear vision for the North East and our energy sector.  We’ve learnt about so many chances to grow our regional businesses, on our doorstep, with leading edge thinking and technology. There is masses of potential here and its fantastic that we are now on the cusp of exploiting it on a truly, once-in-a-lifetime scale.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Everyone at the airport was delighted to host the Chamber and such a high profile event at Teesside Airport, bringing together some of the region’s biggest business bosses to discover all of the opportunities available in our region and some of the transformational projects we’re driving forward.”

The Business Summit was sponsored by Intuit and also supported by Learning Curve and Teesside International Airport.


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