David Cameron pledged yesterday to deliver “stability” to the offshore industry if he is elected prime minister next month.
The Tory leader brought his general election campaign to Aberdeen – and had a message for business leaders in Europe’s oil capital.
He told the Press and Journal that a Conservative government would provide the oil and gas industry with “consistency” and a “clear strategy”.
He also vowed to provide energy firms with incentives to recover oil and gas from marginal fields.
Mr Cameron said the Conservatives would not repeat Labour’s record of appointing a string of people to the role of energy minister, some for very short periods.
“We’ve had a number of (Labour) energy ministers, I think we’ve had eight, although one of them was the same person,” he said.
“I think I’m right in saying, they had one person who did the job twice. I do completely understand the importance of consistency and having dedicated ministers who can do the job for a decent period of time – that is something I can pledge.
“Also, I think if you look at our energy security green paper you can see we’re starting to hopefully go into government with a clear strategy, rather than keep reinventing the strategy as you go through.
“I’m fully aware of the importance of the oil and gas industry and the stability of the fiscal regime and how you need that guarantee.
“Also, the importance of incentivising the industry to recover oil and gas from marginal fields, and I do think we need to work very closely with industry to make sure we maximise the output from the north-sea and use the fiscal regime to make sure that it is properly incentivised.”
Mr Cameron also said carbon capture technology provided a “massive opportunity” for the industry and the country as a whole.
“I think we’ve got the ability here to build coal-fired power stations, have carbon capture and storage, use the North Sea fields for storing the carbon, and making that resource not just for ourselves but for the whole of northern Europe,” he said.
“I think it’s a really big opportunity for us to get a world-leading business out of the environmental agenda.”
Mr Cameron also officially launched the campaign of the Tory’s hopeful for the key Aberdeen South seat, Amanda Harvie.
He toured the Stewart Milne Group’s headquarters at Westhill and met workers during his afternoon in the north-east.
Ms Harvie, 45, the former chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, took over from former candidate Mark Jones, who quit just days before the election was called for family health reasons. She famously kissed former Labour first minister Jack McConnell when he announced that the then Scottish Executive would pay for Aberdeen’s bypass.
She faces sitting Labour MP Anne Begg and strong challenges from the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.