October has been a “surprisingly good month” for the North Sea oil and gas industry, according to a leading Scottish economist.
Inverness based Tony Mackay said that the struggling sector was given a boost this month after a “very difficult” three years following the oil price collapse.
In his latest report on the Scottish economy he stated that there were at least three events worth celebrating over the past four weeks.
These included Statoil announcing a small discovery in the Outer Moray Firth, Shell revising development plans for the Fram field, and Chevron’s announcement about extending the life of the Captain oil field.
Brent also benefited from a boost in oil price.
Mr Mackay added: “World oil prices rose in September and have remained at around the same level during October.
“Brent crude was trading at $58 a barrel at the time of writing (Oct 25).”
“However, the Scottish Government announced a ban on “fracking” for oil and gas in Scotland. That was approved in the Scottish Parliament by 91 votes to 28.”
Mr Mackay added that it was a “mixed month” for the renewable energy industry.
He said: “The highlight was undoubtedly the start of electricity production from the Hywind floating wind farm located offshore Peterhead. This is claimed to be the first of its type in the world.
“However, there are doubts over the futures of two other proposed floating wind farms, off Dounreay in the Pentland Firth and off Kincardine.
“The Scottish Government surprised many people by supporting Perth and Kinross Council’s rejection of plans for an onshore wind farm at Amulree in Perthshire.”