First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be in Aberdeen today as The Scottish Government winds up its energy jobs task force established in response to the oil downturn.
Concerns have been raised by key industry players about the dedicated working group being shut down.
The move has been branded premature amid the ongoing uncertainty facing the North Sea industry.
The Energy Jobs Taskforce was established in January 2015 in response to the plunging oil prices which crippled large parts of the oil and gas industry.
The drop in crude prices led to tens of thousands of jobs cuts as well as sweeping other cost cutting measures which had a knock on effect to the economy in the north-east and further afield.
Oil and gas operators and the supply chain, suffered heavily, with some companies not surviving the storm.
But the Scottish Government insisted group members had decided now was an “appropriate time” to disband the taskforce.
Officials said this was based on “evidence of cautious optimism returning to the sector” and “confidence the industry is now better equipped to operate in a lower price environment”.
And the SNP government has committed to taking “all steps possible” to support jobs and retain talent in the sector.
Ms Sturgeon will attend a taskforce meeting today in which a transition plan is to be developed before the group is wound up.
She will also meet engineering modern apprentices undergoing skills development.
Industry body Oil and Gas UK estimates that around 120,000 jobs have been lost since the downturn started in 2014.
Ms Sturgeon came under fire at the start of last year after it emerged she had held no official discussion with then chairwoman Lena Wilson for more than six months – despite 800 offshore workers being made redundant in that period.
At the time it was announced that the taskforce was to be wound up the Scottish Government said it had delivered redundancy assistance for thousands of individuals and business support for more than 800 companies.
A spokesman added: “Under the advice of the taskforce, oil and gas innovation spend almost trebled last year.
“Funding of £15.9million from Scottish Enterprise supported 82 companies to deliver 111 innovation projects with a combined value of £43million to develop and maintain companies’ global competitiveness.
“Its work and the commitment from members has also been the catalyst for developing a long-term vision for the whole of the industry.”
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