Scottish Conservative Energy spokesman Alexander Burnett has called for the life of the North Sea’s oil and gas industry to be “extended, not ended”.
The Aberdeenshire West MSP said the opening of the Oil and Gas Technology Centre in Aberdeen could help to achieve the target of recovering 20billion more barrels of oil against current projections of just 10billion.
Mr Burnett said that attention should be diverted away from the premature decommissioning of assets, and rejected Labour calls for public investment in ageing North Sea infrastructure.
Speaking during a Labour-led members’ debate at Holyrood, Mr Burnett said: “Just last Friday, I attended the opening of the Oil and Gas Technology Centre where Sir Ian Wood spoke of aiming for the recovery of a further 20 billion barrels against current projections of 10 billion.
“It is a target that can be achieved and the extra turnover of $550billion would be of considerable benefit.
“But it will not be easy and that is why despite the attention on decommissioning we must be talking about extending, not ending the North Sea.
“To put this in some perspective, the total costs predicted to be spent on decommissioning only amount to three good years of investment in North Sea production.
“We need to be looking at extending the life of existing fields, maximising recovery from the identified small pools and encouraging future investment.”