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Smaller oil and gas firms ‘less developed in their thinking’ about energy transition – report

Jack-up installation vessel the Voltaire is designed to transport, lift and instal offshore wind turbines, transition pieces and foundations
Jack-up installation vessel the Voltaire is designed to transport, lift and instal offshore wind turbines, transition pieces and foundations

Smaller North Sea oil and gas firms are “less developed in their thinking” around the current energy transition and the need to diversify their business, according to a new energy sector report.

The Just Transition Commission’s Interim Report, released yesterday, said there was “a need for practical dialogue” with oil and gas companies to outline the potential negative impacts of climate change policy.

It added that small firms should also be made aware of “emerging economic opportunities” within clean energy.

Deirdre Michie, Oil and Gas UK chief executive, said that for diversification to a cleaner energy sector to happen at pace “it is essential that companies of all sizes and scale are supported in taking the steps required to deliver the energy transition”.

She claimed the new report underlines that a “fair, inclusive and sustainable” transition is needed for the North Sea.

Ms Michie added: “These findings confirm the need for continued partnership working with governments, regulators and our people to ensure that we can continue to support the UK’s diverse energy needs, the communities we work in as well as wider society.”

But last night, the Just Transmission Partnership, a separate pressure group made up of unions and climate groups, called for an “urgent ramping up” of policy by the Scottish Government.

Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary, said the report “sets out a much-needed challenge” to government and industry.

He added: “It is positive to see that in certain areas the commission is calling for action now even ahead of its final report in 2021.

“The climate emergency is the biggest threat facing society and targets to cut emissions are only as good as the policy decisions which are made to deliver them.

“We simply will not succeed if justice for workers and communities is not at the core of our approach.”

Meanwhile, GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith called on the Just Transmission Commission to face up to the “hard truths” over local job creation from the renewable energy sector.

He said: “It’s very hard not be sceptical about the prospects for jobs and prosperity as the country moves towards a low carbon economy.

“There is nothing just about what’s happened since we were promised the “Saudia Arabia of renewables” over a decade ago.

“Instead we are haemorrhaging renewables jobs and subsidising that failure, while more people are getting poorer.”

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