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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14231: Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 30 January 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its response to the finding in the DNV GL report, Confidence and Control, which suggests that confidence among UK oil and gas industry leaders has increased by 43% over the last year; what impact this reported increase in confidence might have on the sector and its supply chain and, in light of the report stating that 2018 will see a "step change" in spending levels, what action it will take to support oil and gas research and development.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 27 February 2018

There have been a number of industry reports showing that confidence is returning to the oil and gas sector. The most recent report, DNV-GL shows that, over the past year, confidence in the likelihood of growth in the sector has more than tripled in the UK, to 61% from just 18%.

This is further evidence that, while we must continue to be careful to avoid complacency, the North Sea oil and gas industry is experiencing signs of recovery, and has a bright future ahead. With up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent remaining, it's clear that a renewed focus on innovation and technology can help maximise economic recovery and ensure the sustainability of the North Sea oil and gas industry for the future.

Our work to date to support the sector is seeing us invest £90 million in the £180 million Oil and Gas Technology Centre, and through further funding for research, innovation and skills development for the sector means that Scotland is now very well placed to capitalise on this investment domestically and in export markets, with opportunities for workers and businesses throughout Scotland’s oil and gas supply chain.

Ultimately, though, there are still significant challenges facing the oil and gas industry, and there will need to be continued vigilance on continuing cost pressures, so we are using our devolved powers to support the industry and its workforce through these challenging times, in driving innovation to deliver sustainable efficiencies, as well as pressing the UK Government – who can access the full range of policy levers – to do more to meet the needs of the sector.