SNP welcome big new BP oil finds, but warn Brexit will cost N. Sea industry an extra £500m a year in trade tariffs

Map locator for BP's new Capercaillie and Achmelvich N. Sea oil finds,
Map locator for BP’s new Capercaillie and Achmelvich N. Sea oil finds.

The discovery by BP of two major new oil and gas fields in the North Sea is a major boost for jobs in the sector and is further evidence that the sector is “alive and kicking”, the SNP said yesterday.

But MSP Gillian Martin also warned that Brexit will cost the oil and gas industry an extra £500 million a year in high trade tariffs.

The rebound in the oil and gas industry has seen jobs returning to the North East and Northern Isles after the recent downturn – and BP has also announced that it hopes to double North Sea oil production to 200,000 barrels by 2020.

Despite the positive news, the oil and gas sector remains threatened by the impact of a Tory hard Brexit, which they say will cost it £500 million every year.

The costs for trading £73 billion worth of N. Sea oil and gas annually would jump from £600 million a year now to £1.1 billion in a worst case World Trade Organisation scenario.

At best, if the UK could strike more favourable tariffs with non-EU countries, the cost of trade might fall to £500 million.

Gillian Martin, SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire East, said: “The BP oil finds is excellent news for jobs and the economy across north east Scotland – and shows yet again how strong and resilient the oil and gas sector is.

“Despite the doom-mongers’ claims, the sector is well and truly alive and kicking – and with BP set to double production by 2020, there is plenty to be positive about in the years ahead.

“However, the threat to the industry from the Tories’ hard Brexit plans can’t be ignored, with industry leaders warning that it could cost them £500 million a year, setting back all the progress made in recent months and years in bringing jobs back to the sector.”

1 Feb 2018

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