THE UK Government was warned last night that bigger tax concessions may be needed to encourage companies to extract gas from fields west of Shetland if too much attention is paid to environmental concerns.
Oil and gas companies last night urged the UK Government to deliver them a Budget boost of tax reliefs - as they revealed the collapse of bank lending to smaller firms is threatening developments in the North Sea.
THE UK Government was urged last night to head off the threat posed by a Brussels bid for tougher restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions that could hit the offshore oil and gas industry hard.
PLANS are being made to step up pressure on the government to act to maintain offshore development despite the recession, following a meeting in Westminster last night.
Two north-east MPs are seeking an urgent meeting with the energy and climate change secretary over the desperate shortage of capital affecting offshore developers.
AN INQUIRY into the oil and gas industry by MPs may consider the need for the UK Government to help small offshore operators hit by the credit crunch.
The offshore sector was given fresh hope last night that a package of tax incentives designed to maintain vital investment will be introduced, despite the collapse in the price of oil.
Environmental experts have given the green light to a massive expansion of offshore windfarms and continued development of North Sea oil and gas reserves.
MPs have launched an inquiry into the state of the North Sea oil and gas industry in an attempt to underline the continuing need for government support.
THE UK Government was urged last night to increase support for the exploitation of North Sea gas reserves in the wake of Russia's dispute with the Ukraine which cut off supplies to Europe.
A record offshore licensing round last night lifted the gloom cast by yesterday's news of soaring unemployment and fears of an even deeper recession.
THERE were warnings last night that the gloss could be about to come off the north-east economy as the price of oil teetered below the $60-a-barrel mark.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown was accused last night of playing down the importance of the offshore oil and gas industry in his new Energy and Climate Change Department.
The North Sea energy industry was under fire last night for failing to cut the number of oil and gas leaks - despite the potential to spark another Piper Alpha-style disaster.
A SCOTS MP has secured heavyweight backing for his call for better protection for rural families who are forced to rely on deliveries of oil or gas for heating.
Offshore oil operators were accused last night of deliberately delaying maintenance operations to produce as much oil as possible to exploit sky-high world prices.
Scottish haulage bosses left London last night "deeply disappointed" after the UK Government defied a demonstration against soaring fuel costs.
THE Holyrood committee which blamed civil servants for banning former deputy first minister Nicol Stephen from championing Aberdeen's case to host a £1billion energy institute was itself accused last night of "missing the point".
Treasury ministers face renewed pressure in the Commons to take action to cool soaring fuel prices.
The SNP last night seized on an AA survey to show drivers are increasingly holding the UK government responsible for sky high fuel prices.
First Minister Alex Salmond will be accused of "gloating" over soaring Scottish energy prices tonight.
SNP energy spokesman Mike Weir last night stepped up attacks on Prime Minister Gordon Brown's plan to stave off soaring fuel costs by building more nuclear power stations.
Pressure mounted last night on Chancellor Alistair Darling to use a windfall from North Sea oil returns to cancel a 2p-per-litre increase in fuel duties this autumn.