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Energy / EnQuest floats idea of synthetic diesel being produced at Sullom Voe

An archive image of oil traffic at Sullom Voe Terminal. Photo: John Bateson

SULLOM Voe Terminal could became a base for the production of synthetic fuels that could help decarbonise the local economy.

On Wednesday, terminal operator EnQuest gave an update on its plans to convert the oil terminal into a green energy hub over the next decade or so, and one of the options explored is the production of what is called ‘e-diesel’.

Should this ever become a reality, the terminal would for the first time in its 45-year existence produce a local fuel for local consumption.

Donna Sutherland, a director of Veri Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of EnQuest which is overseeing Sullom Voe’s transition, said 78 per cent of all the fuels consumed in Shetland are diesel, so this was an area where a reduction on the islands’ large carbon footprint could be achieved.

“We can create a fuel here and help the community to decarbonise by replacing their current fossil-based fuels, which is imported from elsewhere in Scotland, and actually generate and consume it locally,” she said.

The terminal is currently undergoing a ‘right-sizing’ process, which involves decommissioning of redundant equipment with the aim of becoming a multipurpose industrial site.

Donna Sutherland, a director of newly formed Veri Energy which is overseeing the transition at Sullom Voe Terminal. Photo: Shetland News

While it will continue to operate as an oil terminal – there are still around 120,000 barrels of oil per day going through the terminal – the ambition is to convert parts of it to facilitate carbon capture and storage (CCS) as well as the production of green hydrogen.

Sutherland said up to seven large wind turbines could fit on the Sullom Voe site to create enough renewable energy to get green hydrogen production underway.

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Green hydrogen in turn could be the raw material for a number of derivatives that could be produced locally.

Of these, according to Sutherland, e-diesel appears to be the most promising to replace some of the current diesel consumption by fishing boats, aquaculture vessels, trucks and private vehicles.

“Our initial target is to replace six per cent of the local requirement,” she said. “We need to work out how we can produce price competitive fuels to be able to benefit the community.”

Sutherland added that company’s plans were fully aligned with the council’s aspirations in this area and added: “We are fully committed to work with the local community.”

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