Shadow UK energy minister Charles Hendry visited Aberdeen yesterday and said he was impressed at the cutting-edge technology being used by the oil and gas industry.
Mr Hendry later told the Press and Journal that the Tories wanted to see the maximum potential reserves recovered from the North Sea.
It emerged last month that shadow chancellor George Osborne had asked for a review of oil and gas tax policy.
It is being conducted by former Tory energy minister Tim Eggar with a view to preparing proposals for the Conservative manifesto at the next general election.
Malcolm Webb, chief executive of industry body Oil and Gas UK, was at a lunchtime meeting attended by Mr Hendry.
Mr Webb said: “It was good to welcome the shadow energy minister and reinforce the importance of the oil and gas industry as the provider of the UK’s primary source of energy for many years to come.
“He had an opportunity to see at first hand the technological innovations that our industry is constantly developing, by visiting Subsea 7’s remotely operated vehicle simulator and viewing BP’s 3D visualisation technology.
“Over lunch, Oil and Gas UK and representatives from member companies had an opportunity to emphasise to the shadow minister that, while we recognise and support the need to move to a lower-carbon economy, oil and gas will be a part of that transition and will be relied upon for decades to come.
“We need the right policies to achieve this, including measures that will help to stimulate investment in new oil and gas production.
“We fully acknowledge that the country is in a difficult position with regard to public finances now and so there is very limited, if any, scope for reducing the overall tax burden on the industry today.
“However, in the meantime, government can do things to stimulate investment at no immediate cost to the Treasury. In the long term, however, once the country begins to emerge out of recession the overall tax rate will need to be reduced in order to boost competitiveness and ensure that recovery is maximised in this fast maturing province.
“These measures will allow our successful oil and gas supply chain to flourish and expand into alternative energy sectors.
“If we get it right, Aberdeen can move from being Europe’s oil capital to becoming Europe’s energy hub.”