North Sea

Scottish Government seeks more Westminster cash to support Aberdeen


The Scottish Government will continue to press the UK Government to offer more financial support to Scotland’s north east, after “inviting” David Cameron to match its own £379 million contribution, the First Minister has said. Nicola Sturgeon also told MSPs she will visit Aberdeen on Monday to announce further commitments to support the oil and gas industry.

Other News

Shale gas offers ‘exciting’ opportunities for struggling steel industry


The shale gas industry offers “one of those rare opportunities” to create a new demand for steel, offering a potential boost to Britain’s troubled steel industry, a Labour MP has suggested. Angela Smith described the opportunities the shale gas industry could create for steel manufacturing as the “most exciting prospect”, adding it could offer a “new sense of hope therefore for a positive future for what is one of our foundation industries”.

Other News

MP queries carbon capture claims


Aberdeen South MP Callum McCaig has asked for clarification over a claim by the prime minister that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology “isn’t working”. Speaking in the Commons chamber yesterday, the SNP’s energy spokesman at Westminster raised the issue of the shock decision to axe a £1billion competition for development money. He suggested that the prime minister and his energy secretary were contradicting each other on the subject.

Oil & Gas

Fracking could be ‘bridge’ to low carbon future, shale gas taskforce says


The Government should invest revenues from UK shale gas production in research and development of renewables and low carbon technology, it has been urged. Shale gas, which is extracted through controversial fracking, could play a role as a “bridge” to a low carbon future, Lord Chris Smith said as the task force on shale gas he chairs published a report on the climate impacts of the fuel. But to minimise its impact and to ensure it does not hinder the development of renewables, the Government needs to invest the revenues it received from energy taxes and royalties into research and development of low carbon technology. The money could give more of a push to areas such as battery storage, which allows power from intermittent renewables to be stored until it is needed, and to technologies including wave and tidal power which need to be developed, he said.


Opinion: Westminster seems to be intent on killing off renewables – why?


I find it impossible to feel anything but raw anger towards the Westminster Conservative Government’s policy on renewables and energy policy in general. Here is a government stating on the one hand that the country has to support the “makers” and export more yet on the other effectively stamping out a globally important growth industry with huge potential. So far, Cameron & Co have scrapped or dramatically reduced support for onshore wind, solar, biomass, the Green Homes scheme, is selling the Green Investment Bank, has done away with the policy of building Zero Carbon Homes, reduced the incentive to move to lower emission vehicles and, of course, decided that the Climate Change Levy, which had been restricted to providers of non-renewable energy to businesses, will be imposed on renewable energy providers as well.

Other News

GE 2015: Shock as key players including Danny Alexander and Ed Balls lose their seats


The UK election has delivered an unexpected outcome, with Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron on course to stay in 10 Downing Street with a parliamentary majority. That’s partly because the Tories defeated Liberal Democrat lawmakers in England. In Scotland, where Ed Miliband’s Labour opposition has been dominant for a generation, the Scottish National Party is set to win nearly all 59 House of Commons seats. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, lost the Twickenham district in southwest London he held since 1997. Tania Mathias, the Tory candidate, overcame a 12,140 majority to defeat Cable in one of the Liberal Democrats’ safest seats.


Opinion: Westminster parties rerunning of referendum makes them look fools!


I suppose given that I’ve written previously about so many similar instances I really shouldn’t have been surprised when I read that an organisation called “Social Investment Scotland” was doing a deal to help fund a developer of low carbon projects install an Australian-developed micro combined heat and power unit (MCHP) on initially seventy but potentially up to three hundred and fifty properties across Scotland with a view to helping residents reduce their fuel bills. The company producing the MCHP is Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd and according to their website they were spun out of the Australian Government's Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), their corporate head office and research and development facilities are in Melbourne and they have a fuel cell assembly plant in Heinsberg, Germany, and a ceramic powder plant in Bromborough in the UK. So perhaps not surprised but just downright gobsmacked that once again we have let an international competitor steal a march on us in an important area of technology. It’s perhaps even more frustrating because I know that at least two of our universities have specific recognised expertise in fuel cell technology. In fact, a few years ago one tried to commercialise a ceramic fuel cell but as is often the case in Scotland, couldn’t get together the funding.


‘Moratorium needed’ over fracking


A moratorium on fracking is needed amid concerns over local environmental risks and climate change, a committee of MPs has demanded. The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) warned extensive production of unconventional shale gas, which is extracted through the controversial process of fracking, is not compatible with the UK’s goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The committee also called for fracking to be “prohibited outright” in protected areas such as national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and ancient woodlands, and banned in all water source protection zones, which feed drinking water aquifers.


MPs table amendment to halt North Sea reforms


A group of MPs has been accused of putting thousands of jobs and the entire UK oil and gas industry in "peril" after launching a bid to derail crucial North Sea reforms. The 10 politicians were branded "ill-informed" after attempting scupper a "crucial" measure recommended last year by Sir Ian Wood in his landmark review. On Monday, MPs will discuss the Infrastructure Bill for the final time, including a section which would enshrine in law "the objective of maximising the economic recovery of UK petroleum".


Ed Balls: Government must take action now


The North Sea oil industry is one of Scotland's great success stories. For decades it has sustained thousands of jobs, generated billions in tax revenue and acted as a platform for exporting the talent and expertise of this great nation around the world. But the industry is at a crossroads.

North Sea

Unions to hold oil crisis talks


Unions and employers in the oil and gas industry are to meet to discuss the threat to jobs in the wake of the dramatic fall in oil prices. The move follows an announcement from BP of hundreds of job losses, sparking warnings of further cuts and calls for Government action. The firm said it expects to shed 200 onshore staff, while 100 contractors’ posts will also be axed, which unions said was a “devastating blow” to the industry.