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Energy / Newcombe to step away from ORION Project

Gunther Newcombe. Photo: ORION

GUNTHER Newcombe will stand down from his role as the coordinator of the ORION Project at the end of September.

He has worked on the project for more than three years.

The ORION Project aims to harness the natural resources of Shetland – onshore and offshore wind, tidal and wave energy – to generate hydrogen and enable the electrification of oil and gas installations.

It is said this will reduce emissions, deliver employment and supply chain opportunities for Shetland, and create a sustainable and affordable clean energy future.

Newcombe previously spent 35 years working with BP in areas ranging from exploration to decommissioning in a number of senior leadership positions, including managing BP’s UK terminals and pipelines which included Sullom Voe Terminal.

He also spent five years as operations director with the Oil & Gas Authority.

Newcombe said: “The well-established ORION Project has fulfilled its main ambition to put Shetland on the map as a renewable energy hub.

“With investment in offshore wind, the planned development of Scatsta, and EnQuest’s ambition of transitioning Sullom Voe Terminal to renewables, including carbon capture and storage, Shetland’s potential as a green hydrogen hub is now widely recognised by government, industry and stakeholders.

“Given this progress, I believe now is a good time for me to step back and I have every confidence that an exciting future lies ahead for Shetland.”

Shetland Islands Council is a partner in the ORION Project, and its infrastructure director John Smith said: “Gunther has brought great drive and vision to our energy transition initiatives.

“The profile and impact of ORION has been important in securing industry acknowledgement that Shetland will continue to be a major energy hub.

“His experience and skills have contributed greatly to the development of our Future Energy team who will continue to take this exciting area forward.

“We want to thank Gunther for his valuable support and wish him well for the future”.

The ORION Project is a strategic partnership between the council, Net Zero Technology Centre, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Lerwick Port Authority and the University of Strathclyde.

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