Appeal for support
UK ‘must avoid losing another industry jewel’
The giant Hutton tension leg platform in the North Sea has been towed five miles across the Cromarty Firth to Queen’s Dock in Invergordon where it will be recycled
Britain must not lose another ‘jewel in the crown’ of industry as the oil and gas sector switches to cleaner energy, according to Deirdre Michie, chief executive of industry body OGUK.
Ms Michie told its annual conference that with the right support, the UK could become the “Silicon Valley of energy” as the global leader in the critical areas of the future, such as emissions reduction and low carbon technologies.
But she also appealed to government not to follow the pattern of the shipbuilding, textiles, steel and mining industries which were lost while demand continued.
Arguing the case for continued support she said the North Sea Transition Deal – the first of its kind by a G7 country – “will spark an acceleration in low-carbon activities, delivered right here on our doorstep in the UK.”
Ms Michie said: “This conference comes at a historic moment for our industry, just two months after we signed the landmark North Sea Transition Deal with the UK Government.
“It’s an ambitious deal that will accelerate a bold path to harness our sector’s five decades of energy expertise and help generate cleaner energy for millions of people here in the UK.
“And with the right support, the UK could become the Silicon Valley of energy, leading the way on emissions reduction, clean energy and low carbon technologies.”
But she added: “Our sector is still a jewel in the crown and an industrial success story for the UK. There have been many other jewels – shipbuilding, textiles, steel and mining to name just a few.
“What all of these have in common is that they were all lost while the demand for their products continued. With dire consequences – let’s not sugar coat it – on people and jobs, communities and businesses that were left behind and opportunities to transform being lost.”
She said it was important to choose the right path in ensuring the switch from oil and gas to cleaner energy was handled better than these other industries had experienced.
“Understanding why we let this happen is key because history doesn’t have to be repeated. But we have to make conscious choices.
“We are choosing to be responsible and drive down our industry emissions while investing in the energies of the future – at a pace which is leading the way globally.
“So I continue to ask politicians of all parties to consider their conscious choice, that while the UK continues to use oil and gas, we meet as much of that from UK businesses.
“Being accountable for our emissions, supporting jobs, and powering energy communities which are very much on the cusp of change.
“Unlocking the investment but also the engineering expertise we need to get there faster.
“Supporting the hundreds of companies across the supply chain who have sharpened their skills in the oil and gas sector and are now working across the energy industry.
“That is the choice that means we will meet our climate goals in a way which is fair, and leaves no one behind.”