Scottish Energy Minister to back SNP conference call for more North Sea oil and gas support

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse will today (17 March) second a motion at the SNP party conference calling for more support for the North Sea oil and gas industry.

It has been put forward by Gillian Martin, SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire East – who is also a member of the cross-party parliamentary group on oil and gas in Holyrood.

Her motion states: “140,000 jobs have been lost in the North East, and the oil and gas industry is in serious danger of being forced to abandon the exploration plans that will keep the industry viable when the oil and gas prices level out. If action is not taken now, by Westminster, the whole of Scotland will suffer.”

Martin said: “We saw little movement from the Chancellor last week in his offer of support got the North Sea in the Budget – the Treasury simply has not done enough.

“A talking shop – which was promised a year ago – will now come to fruition as well as the possibility of further tax incentives as a result.

“More than £1 billion has been invested by the Scottish Government in supporting the industry through the Transition Training fund as just one example while 78 innovation projects with a total value of around £16 million have also been supported.

“It is crucial we have real investment to encourage exploration and production, support the supply chain and at the heart of this, the people who work in the sector and have been hardest hit.

“With an estimated 20-billion barrels of oil left in (UK) North Sea, we need real support from government to work with industry and help deliver the sector’s full potential.

“This is the most topical issue for the people of North East Scotland right now and it is vital that issues around this are seen to be openly debated.”

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