Sir Ian Wood opens MPs’ new investigation into future of N. Sea oil and gas industry

Sir Ian Wood
Sir Ian Wood

MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee at the Westminster parliament have launched a short investigation into the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry.

It starts today with the committee – chaired by the SNP MP Pete Wishart – taking evidence from trade association, Oil & Gas UK; regional business advocacy group, One North East; and union body, the Offshore Co-ordinating Group.

Industry guru Sir Ian Wood GBE, Chairman, Opportunity North East – author of the ‘Wood Report’ which led to the creation of new Oil and Gas Authority tasked with maximising economic recovery from the North Sea – will give evidence today along with Tommy Campbell, Chairman of the Offshore Co-Ordinating Group,

Scotland’s oil and gas industry is central to the UK economy, providing over three quarters of the total energy mix, approximately £17 billion to the UK’s balance of trade and supporting over 300,000 jobs.

However, the industry faces challenges in terms of the long-term decline in production levels, reduced levels of investment, continued low oil prices and declining tax revenues. Wishart said:

“The session investigates the key factors that will decide the long term viability of the oil and gas industry in Scotland.

“It examines the extent of oil reserves and current levels of exploration for economically viable extraction sites, as well as the impact of the UK Government’s Maximise Economic Recovery strategy.

“It looks at the challenges in the job market, both in attracting skilled workers and providing secure employment. The Committee also considers the potential for skills and expertise to be transferred to renewable industries given the increase of measures to reduce emissions.”

MPs will also consider the following issues:

  • What challenges does Scotland’s oil and gas industry face, and how can they be addressed?
  • How can the economic return from Scotland’s oil and gas reserves be maximised?
  • What action is the UK Government taking to support the long-term future of the oil and gas industry in Scotland, and how effective has this been?
  • How well do the different stakeholders (UK Government, Scottish Government, companies) work together? Does the current devolution settlement enable all stakeholders to support the sector?
  • How can Scotland maximise its expertise, technology and infrastructure in oil and gas industry to secure the industry’s future as reserves decline? What support is needed from Government to maximise these opportunities?

A UKOG spokesman commented last night: “The offshore oil and gas industry is essential for security of energy supply, contributing billions to the economy and supporting hundreds of thousands of high-value jobs for many years to come.

“Backed by an enduring plan we can add a generation of life to North Sea basin, double our supply chain’s global footprint and continue powering the nation for many years to come.”

The inquiry is accepting submissions up to 13 July 2018 at this address; https://tinyurl.com/y8hkm5pz

Sir Ian Wood was knighted in the queen’s birthday honours list last week – along with Sir Jim Ratcliffe, executive chairman of the INEOS petro-chemicals group which owns the Grangemouth refinery.

12 Jun 2018

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