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Leading politicians agree: Scotland’s oil and gas workers will power the nation on its journey to net zero

16 September 2021

A Scottish parliamentary debate confirming that North Sea oil and gas workers and companies will be essential in the nation’s green transition has been welcomed by OGUK, which represents the industry.

The debate today was prompted by proposals for new oil and gas developments such as the Cambo field, west of Shetland.

In the debate politicians from Scotland’s two largest parties agreed on the importance of oil and gas workers in helping the nation achieve net zero by 2045 – the government’s target.

Opening the debate Conservative MSP Liam Kerr, said: “A strong North Sea sector supporting tens of thousands of Scottish jobs is preferable to increasing energy imports during the transition to net zero.”

He added: “The industry supports close to 100,000 jobs in Scotland, over 60,000 in the Northeast. A hard shutdown would consign that region to a bleak future and end all the innovations that these workers are already delivering. We need these skills to pioneer greener, energy, and to develop carbon capture, hydrogen, and offshore wind at scale. Losing them would undermine our transition.

Responding, Michael Matheson, Scottish government cabinet secretary for energy, told MSPs that the skills and expertise of the sector would be a “huge asset in helping us to achieve net zero.”

He added: “The Scottish Government is working with the energy sector in Scotland, including the oil and gas sector, not only to secure the environmental benefits of decarbonizing the energy system, but to secure and seize the economic opportunity. The transition to net zero must be made in a way that is just for the workers, which is key, but also for the sector, and for our energy needs.”

Commenting after the debate, OGUK CEO Deirdre Michie OBE said:

“We agree the oil and gas industry’s companies, workers and skills will be crucial to helping Scotland meet its climate targets.

“All projections show society will be using some oil and gas well beyond 2045 so it’s better if we can produce our own rather than increase reliance on other countries.

“Our industry has signed up to the North Sea Transition deal, working with politicians of all parties to reach our climate goals, leaving no-one behind. Today’s debate recognised our industry’s vital role in Scotland’s future. Now we need to work together to make it a reality.”


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