The oil and gas sector is one of this country’s great industrial success stories — a vital energy supplier, having produced some 43 billion barrels of oil and contributing an enormous £330 billion to the UK economy.
From the offshore fields in the North Sea to the onshore facility in Dorset, this government has a vested interest in securing the future of oil and gas production and the 330,000 jobs it supports.
At the Department for Exiting the European Union we have been engaging closely with a number of industry leads, including Oil and Gas UK, to listen to the sector’s concerns and explain the preparations we are making for the UK’s departure from the European Union.
I’ve heard how important it is for the industry to retain the support of the UK government, and continue with a clear fiscal and energy policy.
Be assured that across Whitehall, we are committed to doing just this.
As the Chancellor announced in the Budget last week, we are assembling a panel of experts to examine possible tax incentives to make it easier for operators to sell oil and gas fields, helping to keep them productive for longer.
Maintaining the current supply chain is another aspect of the industry on which we are focused. Our intention is to ensure that there is no hindrance to the movement of goods, services, capital or skills.
Looking forward, we are aiming for a new Free Trade Agreement with the EU that will give British oil and gas companies the maximum freedom to trade with, and operate within, European markets.
It will be a deal that is in the best interest of the UK — one that ensures a new positive relationship with Europe, and embraces the potential for trade with new partners across the world.
My colleagues at the Department for International Trade are already assessing these new opportunities and enhancing our partnerships on an international front.
Certainty around regulation and legislation is also important to your sector, and that is exactly why we will soon introduce the Great Repeal Bill. Put simply, the Bill will convert existing EU laws into UK law, to ensure that you have certainty about the legal framework within which you are operating in on the day we leave the EU.
As we take back control to become a fully independent, sovereign nation, there will undoubtedly be challenges ahead — but there will also be huge opportunities.
And if we seize those opportunities, I am certain our exit from the EU will open the door to a truly Global Britain that will, not least, benefit the UK’s oil and gas industry.
So as we approach the negotiations to leave the EU, be certain that we will do everything necessary to protect this crucial sector.
We will leave the EU as a friend and build a new partnership with Europe — one that is in our mutual interest — and one that enables our country to explore new horizons.
At the May 2015 General Election, David was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Clwyd West, with an increased majority of 6,730.After leading the successful Vote Leave campaign in Wales during the EU Referendum, in July 2016 David was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union under Theresa May’s premiership.
David is married to Sara, who was raised in Llawr y Glyn, Montgomeryshire. They have two sons, and live in Rhos on Sea, along with Archie, a veteran Jack Russell.