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Cable pledges to drive up support for oil and gas

Cable pledges to drive up support for oil and gas
The North Sea oil and gas sector will be offered the same kind of UK Government support given to the country’s resurgent car industry.

The North Sea oil and gas sector will be offered the same kind of UK Government support given to the country’s resurgent car industry.

Coalition ministers will travel to Aberdeen this week to unveil a major package of measures to boost the offshore supply chain and “underpin” the industry’s future.

New funding for training and research is expected to be included in the government’s industrial strategy for oil and gas, due to be launched in the city on Thursday.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said yesterday that the sector’s supply chain had “frayed” in recent years and that the government intends to help “build it up”.

The Liberal Democrat revealed that he was “concerned” that too many North Sea contracts were going abroad rather than to British firms and workers.

He said more business “could and should” be given to UK manufacturing bases, including the Nigg yard in Ross-shire.

Mr Cable compared measures in the new strategy to the government support given to turn around the UK car manufacturing and aerospace industries.

Speaking yesterday, he said: “We want to bring the industry together to think of oil and gas as an expanding sector of the economy, with a big future.

“To bring the various players together to work in partnership with government, which is exactly what we’ve done with aerospace, and with the car industry.

“Both are big success stories, which people had written-off at one stage.

“We think the same is true of oil and gas.”

Mr Cable will be joined in Aberdeen on Thursday by Energy Secretary Ed Davey and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore.

He added: “If we’re going to build it up, a lot needs to be done to encourage supply chain development, a lot of training, a lot of research and development – some of which will get assistance from the UK Government.

“We don’t want – and we couldn’t have anyway under international law – a protectionist regime.

“But I am concerned that there isn’t enough UK content in a lot of the North Sea development.”

The North Sea oil and gas sector will be offered the same kind of UK Government support given to the country’s resurgent car industry.

Coalition ministers will travel to Aberdeen this week to unveil a major package of measures to boost the offshore supply chain and “underpin” the industry’s future.

New funding for training and research is expected to be included in the government’s industrial strategy for oil and gas, due to be launched in the city on Thursday.

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