MPs on the Committee for British Brexit meet oil & gas and Scottish renewable energy chiefs in Aberdeen

MPs on the Westminster parliament’s new Committee for Brexit today hold their first meeting in Scotland with a visit to Aberdeen to focus on the likely impact of Britain’s Independence from the EU-bloc on the fishing and energy sectors in Grampian.

The oil and gas industry is increasingly concerned about Brexit, with Aker Solutions meeting recently with David Mundell, MP, the UK government’s Scotland Minister, to expressly discuss ‘the energy implications of Brexit’.

The IMES Group also recently met with Lord Dunlop – Mundell’s deputy – to discuss the oil and gas sector.

Today, Aberdeen-based recruitment agency Thorpe Molloy will raise concerns over employing EU citizens if Britain leaves the EU.

Scotrenewables' SR2000 tidal turbine
Scotrenewables’ SR2000 tidal turbine

Also giving evidence to MPs on the newly-formed Committee for Exiting the European Union will be Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive of Oil and Gas UK, and Andrew Scott, Chief Executive of Scotrenewables Tidal Power – which earlier this year launched the world’s largest tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

Labour MP Hillary Benn is chairman of the Brexit Committee, which also includes two SNP MPs – Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) and Peter Grant (Glenrothes).

Meanwhile, a new “think tank” has begun exploring ways of tapping remaining gas supplies in the southern North Sea by getting energy from reserves previously considered too difficult and expensive to exploit economically.

The SNS Rejuvenation Special Interest Group initiative has been launched by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), and Oil & Gas UK.

Its chairman is Fraser Weir from Centrica and Aker Solutions is one of the founding members, along with Shell and SSE.

After 40 years of operation the sector is now at a pivotal phase through a mix of decreasing resources, ageing infrastructure, and falling gas prices. The new group has come up with three initial work streams to be tackled:

  • Tight Gas (aka fracking) – looking at ways to reduce costs to exploit expensive-to-extract reserves currently untouched because of high costs and high capital risk
  • Collaboration with the renewables sector, including sharing resources such as boats, and helicopters and exploring gas-to-wire methods of generation power offshore and sending it to land via wind farm cabling
  • UK/ Dutch bench-marking, ranging from cost bases and regulations to working cultures and practices.

OGA area manager Eric Marston said that collaboration was key to the future of the southern Norther Sea and that he was ‘impressed the energy’ shown at the meeting as the SIG sought to accelerate the remaining opportunities in the sector before it was too late for the reserves and infrastructure.

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