Budget 2015 – no help for oil and gas industry

The absence of any help in the 2015 Tory Budget for the oil & gas industry will be raised in Aberdeen today. Shetland MSP Tavish Scott is meeting the Chief Executive of the Oil and Gas Authority and UK Oil and Gas, the industry trade body. 

He will discuss the implications of this week’s budget for the UK’s offshore industry. The Oil and Gas Authority is the newly created body set up to work with government and industry to make sure that the UK gets the maximum economic benefit from its oil and gas reserves.

At his meeting with Andy Samuel, the Authority’s Chief Executive, Tavish Scott will look at the implications for current and future oil and gas projects of the Budget. Tavish Scott said, “I will stress the need for the Authority to use its pivotal position as a link between the government and the industry to ensure that the UK’s taxation policy works in the interests of both sides.” Tavish Scott will also remind Mr Samuel of the importance of the oil and gas industry to Shetland, where Sullom Voe has a key role in the overall UK offshore industry.

Tavish Scott said, “I will point out the benefits to the industry of co-operation over the development of oil and gas fields so that adjacent fields share expensive infrastructure such as pipelines. Sullom Voe has for long played a key role in the development of fields to the North East of Shetland and is now important to fields to the West as well. The Authority must use its influence to encourage more co-operations, with the sharing of pipelines to Sullom Voe and from there on to the UK mainland. As Chevron reconsider the Rosebank field west of Shetland I want to ensure that oil companies are sharing pipelines and other equipment that can make such fields happen while using the asset that is Sullom Voe.”

Tavish Scott continued, “There is no doubt the offshore industry faces challenging times. Even the SNP admits that. Their latest estimates of the tax take from the sector, which they smuggled out on the last day before the Scottish parliamentary recess, are much lower than their heroic estimates last year. Then they were trying to convince us that an independent Scotland would be flowing with oil cash. The nationalists most optimistic estimate is now a quarter of their upper figure from last year.

“With oil at around $60 a barrel, the industry faces real challenges. I will want to stress the need for the new Oil and Gas Authority to work with the industry to help it face the challenges and to use Shetland as a key to unlocking a sustainable future for the industry.”

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