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Business / New energy sector has big potential, Gear says after returning to isles

Daniel Gear is returning to Shetland after a decade away.

AN ENERGY industry professional who has just returned to Shetland to work in the sector has spoken of his optimism at the “exciting potential” for developments in the field over the next decade.

Daniel Gear has taken up the role of business manager at energy logistics and supply chain company Peterson after leaving Petrofac.

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Gear had been involved in initiatives like the Acorn carbon capture and hydrogen project in Aberdeenshire, and the development of Petrofac’s global energy transition strategy.

Last year Shetland News published an opinion piece from Gear about why he thinks the interconnector cable between Shetland and the Scottish mainland, and the Viking Energy wind farm, are important projects for the isles – which prompted plenty of debate.

Gear, returning to the islands after a decade away, said his new role will encompass a number of different areas, including plant and quayside operations and fuel bunkering, as well as contracts with NorthLink, Sullom Voe Terminal and Shetland Gas Plant.

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One area which Peterson has been active in locally in recent years is decommissioning, in partnership with Veolia.

He believes there are abundant opportunities when it comes to the oil and gas sector, and the energy industry as a whole.

“We see a great deal of potential in Shetland,” Gear said.

“In terms of oil and gas, I think we’ll see a pick-up of activity in and around Shetland in the short-term, partly related to the industry’s drive to cut emissions.

“The last barrel of oil to be produced in the UK may well come from the West of Shetland, so by simple virtue of our location we are fantastically placed to grab some of those opportunities.

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“And then there is a huge decommissioning industry on the horizon that we could play an important part in for similar reasons.”

But he said the transition away from traditional fossil fuels towards new energy sources is where potential for growth is greatest.

Gear pointed to the proposed Orion project, which aims to secure a “clean, sustainable energy future for Shetland and the UK” by focusing on industries like hydrogen and the electrification of offshore rigs.

It is being led by Shetland Islands Council and Aberdeen-based Oil and Gas Technology Centre.

“It is the growing momentum of the new energy sector that I think has the most exciting potential for the isles,” he said.

“First through the transformation of existing oil and gas assets and operations, then through the development of offshore wind, and over the next decade, certain aspects of the Orion Project.

“My personal interest is in thinking about how we do that in a way that drives the best possible outcome for Shetland, and maximises the use of the local skills and supply chain to get us there.”

Gear said there is a lot of interesting involvement in the Viking Energy wind farm, and “I’d anticipate that our expertise in logistics and lifting operations will continue to be put to good use over the coming years on that project”.

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