UK ministers announce oil strategy


An oil and gas strategy that aims to secure thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment is being announced by the UK Government.

Three secretaries of state will be in Aberdeen, known as the oil capital of Europe, to describe plans for "tax certainty", supply chain support and skills development.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and Energy Secretary Ed Davey will speak to business leaders about the strategy.

Meanwhile, the Government announced £7 million to set up an "extreme" engineering centre for subsea and offshore engineering in Newcastle.

Mr Cable, who will open a facility at offshore specialists Expro in Aberdeen, said: "I want us to consider what barriers are stopping British companies bidding for and winning work in the North Sea. This is an expanding industry. We can either help create more jobs and opportunities across the UK if we get this right, or see work going overseas if not."

Mr Davey said the oil and gas industry is a vital strategic resource.

"With our support for carbon capture and storage, for decommissioning and by encouraging increased collaboration across different energy sectors, especially offshore, there will also be new sustainable growth opportunities for the industry and the wider UK supply chain."

Mr Moore said: "We've made sure that this strategy encompasses the whole industry to make sure we identify the measures that will benefit business, large, medium or small."

The industry employs about 400,000 people and provides nearly half the UK's energy needs, the Government said.

The future of the oil industry is key in the debate about Scottish independence. The Scottish National Party argues that the country can look forward to an oil boom in the early years of independence, assuming a Yes vote in September 2014. Opponents warn against over-reliance on a volatile resource, prone to fluctuations in revenue.