GMB warns that Scotland ‘faces energy crisis’ after Govt. moratorium scuppers plans for 1,000 new coal-gas jobs in Fife

The coal-gas process
The coal-gas process

The GMB – the trade union for the energy sector – has warned that Scotland faces ‘difficult choices’ following the announcement that Cluff Natural Resources has scuppered its own plan to create up to 1,000 energy jobs in Fife because of a Scot-Govt. moratorium.

And Gary Smith, Acting Secretary GMB Scotland, said “Scotland is facing an energy crisis.

“In terms of gas stocks, the North Sea is being quickly depleted. Estimates suggest there is only between five and 10 years of supply left, unless there are radical changes to how the industry operates.

“The vast majority of Scots depend on gas to heat their homes because gas is four times cheaper than electricity. We also need gas for our industries like the chemicals sector.

“There has been an utter dishonesty about the political discourse around energy. Gas is the fuel of the future in Scotland.

“Scotland faces difficult choices as to where we are going to source the gas we need from.

“Bringing in gas from regimes in the Middle East or from Russia is not good for the environment or ethically sound.”

Underground coal gasification allows access to coal resources that are not economically recoverable by other technologies, e.g., that are too deep, low grade, or seams too thin. By some estimates, UCG will increase economically recoverable reserves by 600 billion tonnes globally.

See Scottish Energy News 7 January 2015

Scot-Govt. coal-gas moratorium triggers energy developer to scupper plan for up to 1,000 new jobs in Fife

Meanwhile, the GMB UK has warned Amber Rudd, MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, that delaying offshore installation decommissioning work any further would be catastrophic for jobs and investment.  

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for energy, said: “GMB has written to government warning that offshore decommissioning decisions should not be delayed. By all means extend the working lives of oil and gas platforms where possible but don’t just kick the decommissioning can down the road.

“Nearly 300 platforms need to be decommissioned and 4,000 wells plugged and abandoned. Thousands of UK jobs could depend on this work – there is no logical case for delaying decisions.”

Over the past 18 months, the oil and gas sector has haemorrhaged jobs.  Around 65,000 jobs have been lost.

Recently the GMB convenor who represents fabrication yards in Fife met with national politicians to discuss the fact that yards are facing closure because of the downturn in the oil and gas sector.  Decommissioning work will be crucial to the long term future of the yards in Fife.  Decommissioning work will be worth in excess of £50 billion long term.

Strutton added: “The oil and gas industry does need urgent support to protect our members’ jobs, including at the Fife yards but also to ensure we can fully exploit the stranded gas reserves that should extend the life of North Sea gas production.  Having access to gas is a matter of national security but it is also a key tool in tackling fuel poverty, with gas hearing being four times cheaper than electricity.

 “We cannot realistically delay offshore installation decommissioning work any further.  That would be catastrophic for jobs and investment.  It will almost certainly ensure UK yards in Scotland and the North East of England will miss out on the opportunity decommissioning presents with work going abroad and expertise being developed in places like Norway, not the UK.

“GMB supports the development of the strategy for the North Sea as laid out in the Wood Review.  It is imperative that we move forward with the proposals for a powerful Oil and Gas Authority as described in the Wood Review and provided for in the Energy Bill.”

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