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Scotland ‘fleshing out’ support actions for oil sector following crisis talks

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse
Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse

Scotland’s energy minister said work to “flesh out actions” to protect jobs and accelerate the transition to low carbon fuels is underway, following the first of several industry crisis talks.

Paul Wheelhouse held the first strategic leadership group meeting yesterday, discussing work to protect the oil and gas sector which has been hit hard by commodity prices dropping and Covid-19.

Trade unions, the Oil and Gas Authority and Oil and gas UK were present, along with input from the UK government, Subsea UK, economic development body Opportunity North East, skills body OPITO and others.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “These meetings, which we propose to repeat on a monthly basis, will be a valuable part of understanding how the Scottish Government can – critically – support our workforce and businesses and ensure continuity of energy security.

“We are particularly keen to also establish how best to ensure that the energy transition agenda continues, and where possible is accelerated, to help the industry decarbonise while meeting Scotland’s net zero emissions ambition.”

Oil and Gas UK has warned of up to 30,000 jobs being lost over the next year-and-a-half and has set out framework for the government to support the sector in order to protect those jobs for the energy transition.

Boris Johnson said earlier this week that Westminster is working on a support package, but did not provide any further details on when that will arrive.

Mr Wheelhouse added: “We know we need the oil and gas sector to play a key role in our energy transition given that the skills and expertise from the sector supporting key aspects of decarbonisation, including developing Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage, Hydrogen, floating wind and marine energy and we will seek to flesh out actions that can be taken to deliver on that objective, while protecting employment.”

The Oil and Gas Authority has opened a consultation on plans to make net zero a part of its raison d’etre, diversion from which could lead to sanctions for operators.

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