North Sea oil risks becoming less attractive to foreign buyers if the UK Government fails to secure key trade deals before Brexit, a leading energy business has warned.
SK Innovation claimed that Theresa May’s plans risked creating import tariffs, which would reduce the attractiveness of North Sea oil for the global market.
The Seoul-based procurement firm expects a lower probability of North Sea crude oil purchases if the UK crashed out of the EU on March 29.
Import tariffs on Forties crude oil have been waived by South Korea under a free-trade agreement with the EU since 2011.
UK business secretary Greg Clark admitted this week that not all free-trade agreements are expected to be concluded in time for the UK’s departure from the EU – despite a promise from international trade secretary Liam Fox that all deals would be ready at “one second past midnight”.
A survey commissioned by the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce last year found 45 per cent of firms anticipate Brexit will have a detrimental effect on the sector – with only five per cent believing it will have a positive impact.
SNP MSP Maureen Watt claimed the UK Government was “putting the recovery of our oil and gas sector at risk by failing to secure tangible international trade deals”.
She added: “The UK government simply can’t be taken seriously on oil and gas. They’ve now had over two and a half years to secure deals for the sector before Scotland is dragged out of the EU next month, but it seems that once again the jobs and businesses that depend on the oil industry are well down their list of priorities.”