First Minister Alex Salmond delivered a message of optimism for the North Sea yesterday, calling the oil and gas sector “a sunrise industry”.
In a New Year message to producers and the service chain, he said the coming year could see a further increase in capital spending offshore.
Mr Salmond said: “The oil and gas sector is one of Scotland’s biggest success stories and one of the bedrocks of Scotland’s economy; accounting for more than 90% of total UK oil and gas tax receipts and supporting 440,000 jobs.
“With 24billion barrels of oil still to be recovered, with a wholesale value of £1.5trillion, the North Sea oil and gas sector has a bright future.”
The first minister said 2012 had been an astounding year for the industry, delivering an estimated £11.5billion of capital spending plus major job and investment announcements from firms including Shell, Talisman, Dana Petroleum and Global Energy Group.
He also said the Scottish Government and industry must co-operate more to keep the momentum going and he promised to continue Holyrood’s support.
But conservation group WWF Scotland said efforts to get as much oil and gas as possible out of the North Sea would only increase CO2 emissions and add to the risk of “climate chaos here and elsewhere around the world”, adding: “For the future of people and the planet, it’s time for the sun to quickly set on polluting oil and gas.”