Politicians urge action as oil price falls to $32.62

Picture: TSPL

Picture: TSPL

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The Scottish Government has been urged to help the North Sea offshore industry as the price of oil fell to $32.62 per barrel.

The lowest oil price for almost 12-years saw opposition parties demand action from Nicola Sturgeon’s administration.

The drop comes amid predictions that the oil price is likely to fall even further and warnings that more jobs are to be shed in the oil and gas sector.

Since the referendum of 2014, the oil price has plummeted to far below the $110 per barrel that the SNP based their calculations when working out the economic implications of Scottish independence.

The latest statistics showed that Brent crude fell to 4.7 per cent, the lowest since April 2004, while US oil dropped by 3.9 per cent, the lowest it’s been since reaching $32.40 in December 2008.

The Scottish Labour Public Services spokesperson and North East MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “This news will be of huge concern to the industry and for families not just in the North East but across Scotland.

“Even after this slump began, Nicola Sturgeon was attempting to reassure people that the price could return to $100 a barrel long before now. Meanwhile just this week one SNP MSP claimed there was no crisis in the industry and it was booming.

“With an estimated 65,000 jobs lost and Oil and Gas UK warning of more to come the SNP can no longer stick their heads in the sand about the oil jobs crisis.

“The SNP government in Edinburgh ignored the falling price in oil because it was politically embarrassing for them.

“Workers in the oil industry have given so much for the Scottish economy; they deserve support from their government now. We need a long term plan to deal with the effect of the falling oil price on jobs not just in the North East but right across Scotland in the supply chain.

“That begins with assessing the impact of the oil price on the Scottish economy and a clear commitment from the SNP government to publishing regular oil and gas bulletins with a specific focus on the impact on jobs right through the industry.”

The Scottish Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes said the Scottish Government should not overlook the effect low oil prices are having on Scottish jobs.

She said: ““The Scottish Government cannot turn their heads away from the fact that brent crude prices are the lowest they’ve been for 11 years. Sector bodies have already said there is a tough year ahead and given the astonishing comments from Dennis Robertson earlier this week, it’s time for the SNP to step up to the plate.

“Attendance at career events in the north-east has reached into the thousands, we know the demand for information on ways to get back into work is there, and people who have already lost their jobs or are facing redundancy need to know how to get much-needed support.”

The Scottish Conservative north east MSP Alex Johnstone said: “This is bad news for the oil and gas industry, a sector which was once thriving. Thousands of people both in the north east and across Scotland depend on oil and gas for the livelihoods and this will be a devastating blow.

“The situation is not helped by the fact the SNP went down the financial model which assumed a minimum oil price of $110 a barrel, when today the price is barely one third. This shows their sums were drastically wrong.

“Then, just this week we had a prominent Nationalist tell us that the industry was ‘booming’ and there was no crisis.

“With the oil price falling by the day, it shows the mess Scotland would have now been in if we’d sleepwalked our way into independence.

“Jobs and livelihoods are at risk now and the First Minister and her party need to be rolling up their sleeves and sorting this mess out with a clear action plan, before it is too late.”

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