UK’s offshore union RMT has called for urgent action to protect Britain’s energy supply chain from collapse amid coronavirus pandemic.
The energy union on Thursday warned that oil price wars and a public health pandemic could drive the North Sea oil and gas industry over the cliff edge.
According to the union, this would put tens of thousands of offshore workers out of work, increasing the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and extinguishing prospects of a just transition for oil and gas workers.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, said: “We are extremely concerned at the potential of the current double edged crisis to permanently damage members’ jobs and conditions, as well as production capacity in the North Sea. We are hearing that exploration projects on the UKCS are being delayed or cancelled as oil gas prices plummet to unsustainable levels. This is threatening to take some operators to the wall, along with the contractor and supply chain workers maintaining their assets.
“Government and industry’s ‘Vision 2035’ strategy now looks in serious jeopardy and we agree that immediate Government intervention, co-ordinated with trade unions, industry and the Scottish Government, is essential in order to protect jobs and skills across the supply chain, as well as the investment needed to preserve the North Sea’s importance to the national energy mix.
“Norway’s state energy company Equinor has set up a department specifically to respond to COVID-19 with the overriding aim of preserving oil and gas production and the jobs it supports in the North Sea today.
“The UK and Norway are, of course subject to the same economic conditions and the UK Government must agree a new offshore oil and gas industrial strategy with the offshore unions and industry in order to prevent catastrophic job losses and skills shortages especially in Scotland from the combined impact of collapsing oil prices and COVID-19.”
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