GOVERNMENT NEGATIVITY ON OIL AND GAS SECTOR COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, WARNS PORT CHIEF

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Government failure to continue to support the UK’s oil and gas industry is counter-productive, the new chief executive of Peterhead Port Authority has warned.

At an event at the Scottish Parliament to showcase the port and its capabilities to MSPs and stakeholders, Graeme Reid said that all the most renowned attributes of the sector will be critical if the energy transition is to succeed.

Addressing more than 50 guests at in Holyrood’s Fleming Room, including cabinet secretary for transport Fiona Hyslop and energy minister Gillian Martin, he said: “The oil and gas business does remain a vital part of the port’s overall business.

“However, there is so much talk of not supporting oil and gas in our country, and not giving it a future, which seems counter-productive.

“I believe that the oil and gas industry’s knowledge, capital, skills base and entrepreneurial ethos will be a major driving force in a successful energy transition; so, taxing them out of the market does not seem a viable long-term strategy.”

He added: “We have seen a steady decline in oil and gas business over recent years and nothing coming to replace the decline. Less than 1% of our revenue came from renewable activity last year, for example. This is not a just transition.”

Mr Reid did, however, welcome the UK and Scottish Government’s announcement of the North East of Scotland investment zone which will support the development and growth of clusters to increase local innovation capacity, attract investment and strengthen the private sector. It is proposed that the designated Aberdeenshire tax site will be located in Peterhead.

“I believe that we need continuity of policy, tax and strong incentives to drive inward investment – both in the port network and the wider energy community. Therefore can I ask that we start talking our prospects in Scotland – specifically the North East – up and working cohesively to attract that new investment, creating long-term prosperity and economic benefit.”

Mr Reid also reminded guests at the event sponsored by Karen Adam MSP that Peterhead Port is situated in a geographic sweet spot to support the many different opportunities presented by the energy transition.

The port is at the heart of the transition to net zero as a partner in the Acorn Project, one of the UK’s four carbon capture and storage schemes, already under development at nearby St Fergus.

As well as being critical if Scotland is to meet its net zero target date of 2045, Acorn and the wider energy transition will bring many thousands of jobs to the area as North Sea oil and gas operations decline.

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