Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Keith Brown, has welcomed assurances he has secured from the UK Treasury that more will be done to support investment in offshore oil and gas infrastructure.
Mr Brown has made repeated calls on the Treasury to honour promises made in last March’s budget to use the UK Guarantees Scheme for oil and gas infrastructure to help secure new investment in assets of strategic importance.
This is seen by the industry as an essential way of securing funding during the ongoing period of low oil and gas prices.
At a meeting in London on June 30, Mr Brown received assurances from the UK Government’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands that this work will now ‘progress with speed’ and has written to key stakeholders and the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee to advise them of this progress.
Mr Brown said: “The Scottish Government strongly believes that the North Sea oil and gas sector can have a bright future for years to come. We are doing everything in our powers to bring this about but it continues to require a concerted effort by government, industry, and regulator.
“I aim to listen and, where I can, to act in the best interest of this important industry – however, the UK Government retains control of the key taxation levers affecting the sector, and must take the action needed to protect jobs and enable the industry to best deal with the challenges it faces.
“This issue was quite rightly raised at the Economy Committee last Tuesday and I undertook to press the UK Government again on this important matter. Despite repeated requests from the industry and the Scottish Government, there has been little progress on this issue so far. That is why I am pleased to have received the necessary assurances from Mr Hands that work on loan guarantees to support investment in offshore infrastructure – which are essential for the industry to secure funding at this moment in time – will now proceed with speed.
“The UK Government must now deliver urgently on this promise. While this remains a difficult time for the industry and its workforce, these assurances from Mr Hands are an important step forward in supporting the oil and gas sector and I will be staying in close touch with the UK government to ensure the promised action happens, and happens quickly.”