ALEX Salmond is predicting an optimistic future for the oil and gas industry, describing it as “a sunrise industry”.
In a New Year message to producers and the service sector, the First Minister said the Scottish Government and the oil and gas industry must work together to help the sector grow still further in 2013 – and pledged to continue the Scottish Government’s support for the sector, building on the success of the oil and gas strategy – developed by the Scottish Government and its agencies in conjunction with the sector – to help the industry continue to thrive.
Oil and gas currently meets more than two thirds of the UK’s energy needs, and is set to remain a vital part of our energy mix for decades to come.
There are 24 billion barrels of oil still to be recovered in the North Sea, with a wholesale value of £1.5 trillion. The industry supports around 196,000 jobs in Scotland and North Sea revenue is forecast to raise £34 billion in tax revenue over the next six years. Capital investment in the industry has risen, from £8.5 billion in 2011 to a predicted £11.5 billion in 2012.
Mr Salmond said: “The oil and gas sector is one of Scotland’s biggest success stories and is one of the bedrocks of Scotland’s economy – the sector accounts for more than 90% of total UK oil and gas tax receipts and supporting 440,000 jobs across the UK.
“2012 has been an astounding year for oil and gas, with a predicted £11.5 billion of investment and jobs and investment announcements from Shell, Talisman, Dana Petroleum and Global Energy Group among others.
“I recognise how important the sector is to Scotland’s economy, and I am committed to working closely with the sector to help it build on 2012’s successes in 2013.”
Mr Salmond added: “In 2012 I launched Scotland’s oil and gas strategy, developed alongside industry, which made clear that there is still much more to come. The strategy sets out the aim of maximising recovery of oil and gas. The value of this to the economy and exchequer is massive - one per cent more recovery, over the lifetime of projects means twenty two billion more tax revenue
“With 24 billion barrels of oil still to be recovered with a wholesale value of £1.5 trillion, the North Sea oil and gas sector has a bright future.
“Professor Kemp’s latest analysis shows the Treasury will have taken £10 billion from Scotland’s North Sea in 2011-12 at a time when Scotland is facing the prospect of up to five more years of UK austerity.
“An independent Scotland will be able to face the difficult financial choices ahead from a stronger position than in the UK and use the full range of economic levers to support growth, boost revenues and deliver public services.
“I regularly meet representatives from the oil and gas sector and hear what they have to say. My New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to do the same and to work with the sector to ensure it goes from strength to strength in the New Year.”
Recent jobs and investment announcements include Global Energy Group launching a Highlands-wide recruitment drive for an additional 400 skilled personnel at Nigg on the Cromarty Firth, and Dana Petroleum’s £1 billion development project for nine wells in the already discovered Harris and Barra fields, about 100 miles east of Shetland.