Covid-19: How UK is helping North Sea Oil industry – Kwasi Kwarteng

The North Sea oil industry will emerge from the coronavirus crisish to play a leading role in the clean growth economy for years to come, writes UK energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng

Oil and gas will remain an important part of our energy mix for the foreseeable future. (Picture: Daniel Azocar/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Oil and gas will remain an important part of our energy mix for the foreseeable future. (Picture: Daniel Azocar/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The global spread of coronavirus has already produced a number of obstacles that we all must tackle head on, including the economic implications of the drop in demand for energy and a huge drop in the price of oil.

I’m acutely aware of the worry this is causing to the tens of thousands of workers who rely on the oil and gas industry for their livelihoods, especially in Scotland, but also right across the UK.

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I want to reassure you that the UK government will be there for everyone connected with this – every step of the way.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the UK government has put together a far-reaching package of support to help Scottish businesses, including offering to pay 80 per cent of the wages of furloughed ­workers, up to £2,500 per month.

That’s on top of the £330 billion in UK-wide business support schemes.

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We have also provided nearly £3.7bn of additional funds to the devolved administration in Scotland to support their efforts in response to the pandemic.

We will continue to work tirelessly with all partners, including the devolved administration in Scotland, G20 and regulators to provide support.

I have been in close contact with representative bodies throughout this difficult time and will be discussing matters further with industry leaders at the Maximising Economic Recovery Forum, hosted by the Oil and Gas Authority next week.

Credit must go to the industry for the resilience shown in such difficult times. We 
all want to see an upturn in activity as soon as possible and, as with every step we are taking, this must be done in a safe way.

We continue to look at the best way forward to support the sector in the long term and remain committed to working together.

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We want to hear the industry’s plans on delivering a transformational sector deal, which will support the North Sea oil and gas industry in becoming more sustainable, and play a leading role in the UK’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The industry has already published its ambitious Roadmap 2035, which sets out a number of actions it can take to decarbonise production and create a net-zero basin within the UK Continental Shelf for the future.

This will be crucial for the industry to remain strong in the years ahead.

The UK government is keen to maintain momentum on platform electrification, carbon capture and storage, as well as hydrogen transition, which will be a game changer in the UK’s energy future, creating quality jobs.

While times are extremely challenging, the UK Government is ready to support.

The skill, flexibility and capacity for innovation in this part of Scotland is world class.

The North Sea will get through this and come out stronger than ever – playing a leading role in the clean growth economy for years to come.

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