The Scottish Government has been challenged to tackle the "worst industrial crisis" in the country's history - and help the offshore industry plan for a brighter future.
The first minister has admitted that there is a “great deal” that needs to be done to protect oil and gas jobs – and insisted the Scottish Government is doing all it can to help alleviate the crisis. Nicola Sturgeon said that her taskforce was working to minimise job losses, but that the UK Government needed to stop hampering progress in the sector. The Conservative’s energy spokesman Murdo Fraser rounded on the first minister, saying she needed to do more than “pass the buck” while people are “worried about their futures”. Labour’s energy spokesman Lewis Macdonald agreed that her efforts so far have only “scratched the surface” of the crisis affecting the North East.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the Scottish Government's Energy Jobs Taskforce has been extended for a further six months.
The Conservatives have accused the Scottish Government of having no strategy to “keep the lights on” after the closure of Scotland’s biggest electricity-generating stations. The party’s energy spokesman Murdo Fraser attacked the SNP administration for putting “all its eggs” in the basket of “intermittent” wind power. Mr Fraser used a Tory debate at Holyrood to call on the Government to consider a new gas-powered generator at the site of the troubled Longannet power station in Fife. Last year it emerged that the station may be forced to close due to what the operator Scottish Power described as “disproportionately high” transmission charges to connect to the main grid network. Scottish generators, including Longannet, account for around 12% of the capacity connected to Britain’s high-voltage electricity network but pay around 35% of the charges, according to the Scottish Government.
The SNP has been accused of “deceiving” voters in September’s referendum after analysis suggested an independent Scotland would have received only a fifth of the party’s oil revenue estimates. According to reports projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) which take into account plummeting prices put oil revenues at £1.25 billion in 2016/17 - the first year of independence had Scotland voted Yes - instead of the £6.9 billion predicted by the Nationalists during the campaign. Meanwhile oil giant Shell confirmed it is to sell its share in the Sean gas field in the southern North Sea.
An international oil boss has claimed that the North Sea can no longer compete with the rest of the world – because of George Osborne’s tax regime.