Oil and Gas Industry — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:30 am on 9 October 2018.

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Photo of John McNally John McNally Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment) 11:30, 9 October 2018

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention; again, he makes a very good point indeed. He is right to raise the concerns about investment, and I join him in calling for the UK Government to support and encourage investment in this vital asset that we have on our shores. I give him my full support in that regard.

Healthy investment is continuing, even though in some cases the level may not be as good as it should be, and new discoveries are being made and developed. In 2017-18, revenues from Scottish North sea oil and gas increased to £1.3 billion. Surely it is now time that the UK Government acted to support the sector’s future.

The sector recognises the need to decarbonise our economy and its responsibilities in supporting that transition. It is an international leader in supporting the low-carbon transition. Average emissions per unit of production on the United Kingdom continental shelf—its carbon intensity—have fallen year on year since 2013, with total emissions in decline from their peak in 2000. Firms are increasingly diversifying and using their existing skills to grasp opportunities emerging from the green economy, thereby providing sustainable employment. Often, infrastructure owners and operators in the oil and gas sector are already part of wider portfolios across a range of conventional and renewable energy sources. Contractors and supply chain companies with expertise in offshore operations and maintenance are also providing solutions across a range of energy industries, to diversify and replenish their order books.

As we all know, innovation is absolutely key to that process. Building the sector of tomorrow presents exciting and challenging opportunities for our people. The Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation’s workforce dynamics report has predicted that by 2025 there could be as many as 10,000 roles that require completely new skills. It is reassuring to note that the industry continues to attract young people to build its future. There were 105 new entrants to the oil and gas technical apprentice programme in September alone. Once again, I have seen that forward-looking agenda at first hand in my neighbouring constituency of Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

As I mentioned, the town of Grangemouth is home to Scotland’s only crude oil refinery. It is a truly remarkable site. For example, the refinery was the first to introduce ultra low sulphur diesel and ultra low sulphur petrol to the UK market. Grangemouth already makes up approximately 8% of Scotland’s manufacturing base. Many of my constituents are employed at the site or in its supply chain. Grangemouth’s success shows the impact that downstream operations and manufacturing can have on the economy, locally and globally.