Action needed now to secure UK oil industry

The message delivered to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) that action is needed now to encourage investment in the North Sea oil and gas industry needs to be heeded by our politicians.

As Sue Bruce, Aberdeen City Council’s Chief Executive, pointed out, it is quite clear that the Norwegian Government is investing heavily in their strategy to position Norway as the leading energy hub in Europe -- a mantle currently worn by Aberdeen.

oil platform

Candidates in the general election should be challenged about their strategy to maintain the UK’s position

Anyone visiting Stavanger in Norway cannot fail to be impressed by the ‘go-getting’ attitude. There is massive investment in facilities and new infrastructure.

Where in Aberdeen we struggle to drive from one side of the city to the other, and put up with hours of delay at the infamous Haudagain roundabout, our counterparts on the other side of the North Sea are traversing the city on a modern transport infrastructure that includes tunnels to take traffic under the harbour.

If the UK is serious about maintaining Aberdeen’s position as the energy capital of Europe and the world’s number two downstream oil centre, we really need to waken up our ideas.

Otherwise, while we fiddle, we can expect to see the oil and gas focus shift across the North Sea.

That would put in question:
  • More than £12 billion of revenue to the Exchequer each year.
  • The future of almost half a million oil-related jobs in the UK.
  • The £35 billion that the industry contributes to our balance of payments.
  • Compromise the energy security of the UK. (75% of our prime energy needs in the UK are fed from the North Sea.)

But given the low profile that the offshore oil industry has in the UK, I have to doubt if the questions that should be asked will be asked in the run-up to the general election.

It is down to all of us to ask election candidates to spell out what their strategy is to maintain the UK’s lead in in offshore oil and gas.

(Reproduced by kind permission of the original author)

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