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North Sea pledge

Salmond: abandoning oil workers would be ‘betrayal’

Alex Salmond outside court

Alex Salmond: ‘oil development can be reconciled with net zero’

Alex Salmond has criticised the “student politics” of the SNP-Green party partnership and spoken out in support of the North Sea oil and gas industry.

The leader-designate of the new pro-independence ALBA party backed the sector following comments by Sir Ian Wood in favour of continued exploration.

In a statement, Mr Salmond blasted the Green Party’s position on the North Sea’s future.

“It is perfectly possible to reconcile hydrocarbon development with a zero carbon future, just as it’s possible to decarbonise transport without stopping essential road building,” said the former SNP leader and First Minister.

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“If I had placed Government in the hands of the Green Party, there would currently be no Forth Crossing and no Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road.

“Abandoning the North Sea would be a betrayal of the workforce and used by opponents to damage the independence case which for many decades has focused on developing our country’s huge natural resources.

“Dodging the debate by leaving it to Westminster is even worse, sending out the debilitating message that Scotland is not capable of taking the big decisions for ourselves.”

Sir Ian Wood on Question Time

Sir Ian Wood said the industry should not be sacrificed

Earlier, the former oil industry veteran Sir Ian Wood became the latest to speak up for continued activity in the North Sea oil industry, saying it would be “crazy” to abandon it.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Liam Kerr, described Sir Ian’s comments as “yet more evidence that shows the coalition of chaos is so out of step with what needs to happen for a successful energy transition.

“The SNP-Green Government is rife with opponents of the oil and gas industry who want to push for an end to North Sea production which is totally unfeasible.

“Sir Ian Wood rightly says thousands of sector jobs would be lost, impacting livelihoods in the process.”

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Despite their shared view on the need to protect the oil and gas sector, Mr Salmond did have harsh words for Westminster governments which he said were responsible for the North Sea being “one of the greatest wasted resources in the history of humanity.”

He said: “Whereas our Norwegian counterparts created a sovereign wealth fund that benefits the common good of the people of Norway, a fund worth over $1 trillion, which grew by £90bn last year alone, Scotland’s oil wealth has been squandered for decades on obscenities such as illegal wars and weapons of mass destruction.”

He added: ” ‘Scotland’s Oil’ wasn’t just a slogan that helped create the foundations for modern support for independence, it highlighted the democratic deficit of Scotland’s resources being squandered by Westminster Governments we simply do not vote for. 

“The Climate Emergency has rightly taken centre stage as the greatest issue the world must confront.

“As First Minister, I first took control of Climate Change legislation from Westminster and then took the tough and controversial decisions to secure Scotland’s renewables future like building the Beauly-Denny transmission line, and licensing onshore and offshore wind projects like the Aberdeen Demonstrator.

“If it hadn’t been for Westminster perfidy, we would already have the world’s first commercial hydrogen power station in Peterhead and proof positive that North Sea development can be both clean and green.

“However, the future of North Sea, the communities it benefits, the jobs it supports, and the economic advantage to Scotland merits much more serious consideration than what currently looks like student politics masquerading as coalition building.

“Securing a just transition requires a lot more than sound bites, but rather a thought out plan on how to protect the jobs we have, build on the economic benefits we have gained and use the unrivalled expertise of a world energy capital to lead in offshore renewables”.

See also:

Terry Murden: Why ostracising oil and gas is a dangerous game for Nicola Sturgeon

Justin Hoffman: Energy shift needs a holistic approach



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