Nearly 1,000 oil and gas jobs are to be created under plans announced yesterday for a £169million investment in the North Sea.
Offshore firm EnQuest is extending the life of the Thistle field, 275 miles north-east of Aberdeen.
The move comes after the company became one of the first operators to win new brown-field tax allowances, which were introduced by the Treasury following last year’s Budget to help stimulate North Sea investment.
EnQuest’s plans are expected to safeguard about 500 jobs in the north-east and create almost 1,000 supply-chain posts at Aberdeen, Newcastle, Manchester and Swansea.
Industry body Oil and Gas UK estimates that new brown-field and decommissioning tax relief in last year’s Budget helped lead to an injection of more than £8billion in the sector in the past six months alone. Chancellor George Osborne announced the measures in March – 12 months after he almost wiped out North Sea investment with a surprise £10billion tax raid on producers.
Sir Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon, said: “There have been quite a number of investments which have now come on the back of the Budget. The government – after a bad start – has engaged positively with the industry, and it’s having very positive results.”
The new investment by EnQuest is expected to see contracts for work being awarded to about 30 companies across the UK supply chain. David Heslop, general manager for EnQuest in Aberdeen, said: “Thistle is a prime example of how we are able to recover more oil from mature assets through a combination of innovative ways of working and technical expertise. It demonstrates what EnQuest does best and underlines our long-term commitment to the North Sea.”
Oil and Gas UK’s economics director Mike Tholen said: “Oil and Gas UK is pleased that the tax change made recently by the government to promote further new investment in the UK’s existing oil and gas fields continues to deliver real benefits to the national economy.”
Economic secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid said: “This is positive news and demonstrates how the government’s package of changes to the oil and gas tax regime, including the introduction of brown-field allowances, is stimulating billions of pounds of investment, supporting jobs, delivering revenue for taxpayers and helping ensure we make the most of this valuable national asset.”