« BackNews: Industry Figures Warn Over Future Of Scottish North Sea Industries

Industry Figures Warn Over Future Of Scottish North Sea Industries

Industry figures inked to the oil and gas have criticised the Scottish government’s draft energy strategy, which has outlined plans to reduce reliance on North Sea oil and gas and switch towards more renewable energy.

As well as various commitments to increasing renewable energy production both for domestic use and expert, the strategy proposes “consulting on a presumption against new exploration for North Sea oil and gas”. Despite this, the strategy claims there will be more energy jobs in 2050 than there are now.

Energy secretary Michael Matheson said: “At a time of unprecedented uncertainty in our energy sector, accelerating the transition towards becoming a renewables powerhouse makes sense for a number of reasons.”

However, many linked to the oil and gas industry have reacted with dismay. Chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Russell Borthwickaccused both the Scottish and UK governments of working to wreck the economy of the north-east of Scotland, claiming it could suffer in a similar fashion to former coal mining areas when the pits closed.

“This move towards a presumption against exploration for North Sea oil and gas has been met with compete disbelief in the North-east of Scotland,” he remarked, calling the plans “a breathtaking betrayal of one of Scotland’s biggest industries”.

As well as losing jobs  in the sector, running down oil and gas could mean a decline for the supply chain and back-up industries in areas such as equipment, ranging from gauges and overfill prevention systems to the maintenance sector. It would remain to be seen whether industries such as biogas could take up the slack. 

Mr Borthwick argued that the UK would be better off investing more in oil and gas to meet domestic supply needs and then use the proceeds to help fund developments in renewable energy for the future, observing that this is the approach currently being undertaken by Norway.