26 January 2016
The First Minister chaired a special session of the Cabinet at Bute House, focused on the additional support that can be offered to the oil and gas sector.
At the meeting, which was attended by Dr Lena Wilson of Scottish Enterprise (left, above) – the chair of the Energy Jobs Taskforce – the First Minister outlined the key areas that the Scottish Government would focus on to support the industry.
Skills – how can we ensure that the sector retains its world-class workforce, supporting high-quality training and enabling redeployment and reskilling.
Exploration – removing barriers to exploration and improving the collaboration between industry and academia.
innovation – helping the application of new and existing technology to keep the North Sea at the forefront of the global industry.
Finance – addressing issues of access to finance that can hinder growth and international activity.
The First Minister also confirmed that she has asked the Energy Jobs Taskforce – established in January 2015 and originally due to complete its activities shortly – to continue its work.
But she called on the UK Government to take urgent action. With tax policy reserved to the UK, Ms Sturgeon said Finance Secretary John Swinney will seek an urgent meeting with the Chancellor to set out the Scottish Government’s view that the tax burden on the industry must be lowered at the March Budget.
The First Minister said:
There is no doubt the industry is currently facing an extremely challenging outlook, but oil and gas can continue to make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy and energy security for decades to come. However, this will only be achieved if we support the industry through this difficult period, encourage investment and ensure it remains well placed to benefit from a future upturn in oil prices
“Cabinet today agreed to focus our efforts, along with those of the Energy Jobs Taskforce, on the key areas of skills, exploration, innovation, and access to finance.
“By encouraging exploration we will ensure future production levels can be maintained when the oil price inevitably rises and by supporting innovation and access to finance for internationalisation we will keep Scottish firms at the forefront of global oil and gas expertise.
“Meanwhile, we will work with industry to ensure it can recruit and retain the best people by maintaining the flow of talent into the industry and supporting re-skilling of staff to keep them in the sector.
Attending special Cabinet meeting on oil and gas to discuss the Energy jobs taskforce
— ScotEnt CEO (@scotentCEO) January 26, 2016
Dr Lena Wilson said:
The Energy Jobs Taskforce has made a significant contribution to help bring about the transformational change needed in Scotland’s oil and gas industry. It is vital we continue to work together to do everything possible to support the industry during this challenging period and by focusing on the areas set out by the First Minister today, collectively, the industry and the public sector can safeguard the future of our world renowned oil and gas sector for decades to come.”