Politics

SNP and Greens warned oil and gas rhetoric has ‘shaken investor confidence’ and risks jobs

SNP and Greens ministers have been warned by business leaders that their hostility to the oil and gas sector is putting thousands of jobs on the line.

Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) has backed the calls for politicians and pressure groups to work collaboratively to cut emissions and ensure the sector can thrive in a net zero world.

Leading Scottish and UK business and industrial chiefs have warned that some politicians are risking causing damage to the North Sea oil and gas sector with their opposition.

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon changed her track and called for the Cambo oil field to be halted and Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie appeared to celebrate Shell pulling out of the project.

The letter, signed by a host of organisations including the British Chambers of Commence and Scottish Chambers of Commerce, warns that “statements calling for an end to new exploration and production have shaken investor confidence”.

It adds: “A cliff-edge end to oil and gas production threatens tens of thousands of jobs and our ability to deliver a home-grown energy transition. We must avoid a repeat of what happened to our mining communities in the 1980s.

“We urge politicians to reflect carefully on their public statements on oil and gas … Statements calling for an end to new exploration and production have shaken investor confidence and placed tens of thousands of jobs – together with the economic wellbeing of whole communities across the UK – at risk.

“We must now pause and allow for a reasoned debate about our energy future to take place.”

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of OGUK, said: “Businesses are joining the public in supporting our calls for a planned and fair transition towards our climate goals.

“Right now, we need oil and gas for 73 per cent of our total energy, and so the transition to carbon neutrality will be a huge and complex task.

“We will only be able to achieve it with careful planning by policy-makers who think long-term to develop clear government policies that are then supported by all politicians working together in the national interest.

“Those policies need to help the UK develop a range of technologies such as offshore wind, solar power, CO2 capture and storage and industrial-scale hydrogen production.

“But they must also ensure that, during the transition, the nation keeps getting the energy it needs. For years to come that will mean oil and gas will need to be part of the energy mix.”It will be far better for the nation and the environment if we source these fuels from around our shores rather than relying on even more imports.”

The Scottish Government said its focus “must now be on achieving the fastest possible just transition for the oil and gas sector — one that delivers jobs and economic benefit, and also ensures our energy security and meets our climate obligations”.

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