Sustained joint action is essential to ensure the maximum recovery of oil and gas from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) prior to the inevitable decommissioning phase, a report by the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee has concluded, urging the industry not to rush to decommissioning .
Publishing its report, “Future prospects for oil and gas in Scotland”, the Committee reflected on the challenges facing the industry, an industry of huge importance to the Scottish economy, particularly in the north-east, the Committee said.
The report calls on the UK and Scottish Governments to continue to work closely together, along with industry and trade unions, to help ensure a sustainable future for the industry. The Committee makes a number of other recommendations aimed at protecting jobs and working conditions, and maintaining health and safety standards in the North Sea.
Committee Convener Murdo Fraser MSP said: “Scotland’s oil industry has a vital status within the Scottish and UK economy. The challenges the industry is facing as a consequence of the significant and sustained fall in the price of crude oil represent a serious threat to our economic wellbeing, especially to the livelihoods of those employed in the industry and those communities who depend on it.
“In our evidence sessions, we heard from the trade unions, industry representatives and Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce about the impact and what needs to be done.
“What was clear to the Committee is that there is a shared determination to protect and promote the industry, to secure a sustainable future in the face of current challenges.
“We call on all those involved to continue to work together to maximise the economic recovery of oil and gas rather than rush to decommissioning.”
Essential skills must be retained
Deputy Convener Dennis Robertson MSP said: “The Committee recognises the very challenging situation facing the oil and gas sector in Scotland. Short term prospects, particularly for offshore workers, appear to be extremely difficult.
“However we believe that, with appropriate support from Governments, and enhanced collaboration, driven by the Oil and Gas Authority, a sustainable industry can emerge from this downturn.
“In light of recent job losses there is also a real fear that many highly skilled workers may be lost to the sector. It is important that the industry reflects on this point to ensure that essential skills are retained in the workforce when the downturn stabilises with the possibility of recovery in the future.”