Starmer: Energy sector backs transition from oil but wants help with challenges

The energy sector in Scotland’s north east is completely on board with plans to transition away from oil and gas, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

During a visit to the St Fergus Gas Terminal in Aberdeenshire, the Labour leader said the sector had “absolute clarity” from his party on the support available for the move to net zero.

The statement comes as Sir Keir pledged to make the UK a clean energy superpower, confirming North Sea industries will be eligible for the British Jobs Bonus – a £2.5 billion fund which aims to create an estimated 29,000 jobs by 2050 by prioritising investment in clean energy developers such as carbon capture.

Labour announced, earlier this year, it would bring an end to new North Sea licences – a move opposite to that of the UK Government. But it created concern over job losses from the industry.

Sir Keir Starmer visits a clean power facility
Sir Keir Starmer, Ed Miliband and Anas Sarwar visited St Fergus Gas Terminal to discuss the future of oil and gas (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

But Sir Keir has been clear there would be no cliff edge, stressing the importance of a planned transition.

During the visit, he was joined by shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, and the trio held a roundtable with industry bosses.

Speaking to broadcasters on Friday, Sir Keir said: “There was very positive dialogue from the energy sector, absolute clarity, we all want that transition.

“I’m very concerned that we preserve the jobs that we’ve got in oil and gas, which is going to be part of the mix for decades to come – but do more than that, which is ask the question how do we ensure the next generation of jobs are here.”

“Nobody in the sector is saying to me, ‘We don’t want the transition’. What they are saying is, ‘We want the transition but here are the challenges, the pinch points, opportunities of the next generation of jobs, are you coming alongside us?’

“The answer for me, if we form the next government, is yes. “

Sir Keir also ruled out extending the windfall tax, which placed a levy on industry profits, after the sunset clause comes into effect on December 3, 2025.

He said: “The windfall tax was only ever a windfall tax – a short-term solution.

“What I want to see is a long-term solution which is that transition when it comes to energy.

“Windfall tax was necessary because of the bills that were going up so fast and the profits that were being made at the time.

“The long-term solution is to manage through the transition with a plan – thought through with the sector.”