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by Liam Kirkaldy
04 February 2019
MPs call for further support for North Sea oil and gas

Image credit: Holyrood

MPs call for further support for North Sea oil and gas

The oil and gas industry should be given additional state support to help it maximise economic recovery from the North Sea, according to a new report from the Scottish Affairs Committee.

In the report, which follows a committee inquiry, MPs called on the UK Government to create “an oil and gas sector deal that has the detail and ambition needed to support the industry’s challenging future”.

Releasing the report to coincide with a special event at the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, MPs said they acknowledged environmental concerns over the threat posed by climate change, but argued that because oil and gas looks likely to form a substantial part of the UK’s energy mix for at least the next 15 years then supplies should come from domestic sources.

The committee also urged the UK Government and the North Sea sector to develop a sector deal that included a decommissioning export strategy, and for government to support the industry in sharing best practice from historic decommissioning.

The report recommends that the UK Government should ensure the sector deal contains specific and measurable outcomes on increasing skills transfer to new sectors.

With a recent report from the IPCC warning the world has 12 years in which to take the action necessary to limit rising temperatures to under 1.5C, including radical reductions in emissions, the report suggested the oil and gas industry should come forward with a detailed proposal of how the new centre on transformational technology will limit the carbon footprint of the extraction process.

The committee recommended that the UK Government and the Oil and Gas Authority consider options for ensuring oil and gas infrastructure can be reused for carbon capture, usage and storage, and encourage the industry to take a more proactive approach.

Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee Pete Wishart MP said: “Scotland should be enormously proud of its globally recognised oil and gas industry. However, the industry is going through a period of immense change as it prepares for a challenging future, and the Government urgently needs to step up and support the industry. My committee’s report sets out a pathway for the future of the industry; a sector deal that would support the industry’s past, present and future.

“There is potentially another 30 years of oil and gas production in the North Sea but it’s important the sector uses this time to ensure the sector’s future as production starts to slow. To do this the Government needs to support the sector in exporting its skills and expertise around the world and to transfer the sector’s world leading engineering into other sectors, like renewable energy and carbon capture technology.

“Only by doing this can the Government ensure that in 30 years the North East of Scotland is still home to a world class energy sector.”

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