Former UK energy minister Charles Hendry was back in the Granite City yesterday, highlighting the UK Government’s support to the oil and gas sector.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day conference focusing on the politics of the oil and gas in the UK, his comments were balanced with claims from other speakers that an independent Scotland would make better use of oil revenue.
Mr Hendry, the longest serving energy minister of recent times, underlined the work being done by Westminster to support north-east firms in the energy supply chain.
He said that with North Sea oil and gas production in decline, the industry needed to build on its technical experience and skills and sell them to other regions where production was on the rise.
On export opportunities to areas like the rising Caspian region, he said: “We’ve got contracts coming to Wood Group, Petrofac and to some of the key service-sector companies … (offering) great business opportunities for the years ahead.”
But historian and former MSP Christopher Harvie and Shetland Islands councillor Jonathan Wills spoke of four decades of lost opportunity, with North Sea revenue passing straight into the general taxation pot.
After the event, held at Aberdeen University, SNP MSP Mark McDonald said: “With some £1.5trillion in wholesale revenue remaining in these waters – and potentially much higher depending on oil prices – it is essential that Scotland gains the opportunity to use these resources to the benefit of people living here.”
Watch our video interview with former UK energy minister Charles Hendry on our player below.