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Other News

MSPs to hold energy supply inquiry

A Holyrood committee is to hold an inquiry into the security of Scotland’s energy supply in the wake of news that Longannet power station is likely to close prematurely. MSPs on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee will take evidence on the UK electricity market with a focus on supply, demand and the transmission network. It follows the announcement that the troubled coal-fired plant in Fife will “in all likelihood” shut by March 2016 after losing out on a short-term National Grid contract. Operator Scottish Power said the station has been under pressure from higher transmission charges to connect to the grid due to its location.


Sturgeon: Back oil industry plans

The future of the North Sea oil industry has dominated clashes at Holyrood, with the First Minister urging opposition leaders to give their support to SNP proposals to help the industry in the wake of falling prices. Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all pressed Nicola Sturgeon on the impact that prices, which have now dropped below 50 US dollars (£32) a barrel, would have on both the industry and the country. Ms Sturgeon called for an end to “petty political point-scoring” at the same time as she criticised Labour MPs for backing Tory plans for a further round of austerity cuts in a vote at Westminster earlier this week.

Oil & Gas

Minister warns of oil jobs threat

The employment threat from the plunging oil price has produced the “the most serious jobs situation Scotland has faced in living memory” with urgent changes to the tax regime required, Holyrood’s Energy Minister said. Fergus Ewing demanded action from the UK Government as Energy Secretary Ed Davey was visiting Aberdeen to talk to leading figures in the North Sea oil and gas sector. With Chancellor George Osborne due to unveil his final budget before the election in March, Mr Davey suggested “we may well be able to have extra help for the North Sea”.

Other News

Fracking powers for Holyrood

Powers over fracking for shale gas are poised to become the first of the Smith Commission proposals to be devolved to Holyrood. Labour had insisted that there was no need to wait until after May’s general election to give MSPs extended responsibilities over fracking. The cross-party Smith Commission recommended the power transfer, but shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said the process should be fast-tracked.


Opinion: Focus on what should be done – not sly politicking

The UK Government moves like lightning to tax the industry when oil prices are high but moves at a snail’s pace when oil prices are low. In a glaring example of oil tax hypocrisy, George Osborne announced a shale oil fund for the north of England in his Autumn Statement. This is before a single barrel of oil has been produced, yet, Scotland, with more than 40 billion barrels of oil is still waiting.

Oil & Gas

Lord Smith questioned by MSPs

Lord Smith of Kelvin, chair of the Smith Commission on Scottish Devolution, will appear before Holyrood’s newly-convened Devolution (Further Powers) Committee. His report recommended the UK government would remain in charge of licensing for all offshore oil and gas extraction under the proposals but Holyrood could get the power to determine if fracking goes ahead in Scotland.

Oil & Gas

Smith Commission: Westminster keeps charge of offshore oil, but onshore exploration devolved

The Smith Commission said Westminster should remain in charge of licensing for all offshore oil and has extraction but Holyrood could get power to determine onshore oil and gas extraction. Holyrood is to be handed new responsibilities over income tax and welfare as part of a deal on devolution drawn up in the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum. The Smith Commission, which was set up to examine what further powers could be transferred to Edinburgh, has recommended that the Scottish Parliament should be able to set its own income tax rates, with all of the cash earned staying north of the border.


Video: Danny Alexander dismisses further oil and gas tax powers for Holyrood

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said greater fiscal control over the oil and gas sector would not be “the right thing to do.” Mr Alexander said he welcomed the Smith Commission report next year, but said the oil and gas industry needed stability and certainty. He was speaking in Aberdeen on a visit to the headquarters of Archer, the global oilfield service company.

Oil & Gas

Fracking puppet protests at Holyrood

Environmental action group Friends of the Earth presented a 10foot pro-fracking puppet named Mr Frackhead at the Scottish Parliament. The puppet made the stop on his tour of the UK looking for places to frack for shale gas and posed for pictures at places including Holyrood and Arthurs Seat.