A new report from Skills Development Scotland underlines the need for the UK government to deliver “further and faster” reform on oil and gas.
A more buoyant Brent crude oil price – which this week rose to a three year high above $67-barrel – has seen people returning to work in the energy sector.
However the report highlights the risk of further job losses over the longer term. Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin, who sits on Holyrood’s economy committee, has said the warnings emphasise the need for the UK government to go further on oil and gas – to stimulate fresh investment and exploration in the North Sea and maximise employment.
And an Aberdeen City Council official report has highlighted that 5,500 further jobs are expected to be lost in the city’s energy sector by 2027.
The North-East MSP has reiterated the outstanding SNP demands on oil and gas on which the Chancellor failed to deliver in his Autumn Budget. The SNP is calling on the UK government to take urgent action on:
- Incentives for new exploration and development in the North Sea
- Loan guarantees for critical infrastructure – as promised in the 2016 budget
- Future-proofing of energy jobs with incentives for firms to diversify into renewables
- Action to unlock ‘small pool’ accumulations through technology and cost reduction
- Investment to ensure Scottish ports are best placed to win decommissioning contracts
Martin said: “While things are picking up in the industry, and people are getting back into work, this report underlines the fact that there can be no room for complacency.
“The Scot-Govt. has done all within its powers over recent years to protect jobs and support the economy of the North East through turbulent times.
“But the fact of the matter is this: almost all of the levers to incentivise growth and ensure a healthy future for the oil and gas industry remain in the hands of a Tory government at Westminster. And they’ve proved themselves slow and stubborn in implementing much needed reforms – they need to go further, and they need to move faster.
“What we got in the Autumn Budget on transferable tax credits for mature fields was welcome insofar as it went. But those measures were long overdue and just a small piece of the jigsaw.
“We need action now to future-proof the industry against another downturn – and with more companies encouraged to diversify into renewables.
“And we need action now from Westminster to boost exploration and develop new prospects.”
11 Jan 2018