Future of the Oil and Gas Industry — [Mr Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:43 pm on 14th March 2019.

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Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 2:43 pm, 14th March 2019

The hon. Lady has caught me unawares, because I am afraid tax is not one of my specialities; I apologise to her. I will find out about that, and if she would like me to write to her—or we could have a coffee together outwith this place—I would be happy to do so.

I should make some progress, because I am testing the patience of the Chair, and he wants two minutes left over. Trevor Garlick and the team have done a lot for the industry. He has brought a diverse sector together, which is the purpose of our sector deals; previously, most relationships between Government and companies seemed to be based on a few big companies that had very effective lobbying machines and knew the way the Government worked. In the oil and gas sector, he has helped to break that and has brought a lot of things forward.

The leadership has been very good, as have many of the work streams; we have five areas of focus in the report, but it seems to me that work on them is already being undertaken. For example, the National Decommissioning Centre has already been launched, with £38 million in funding. The Oil & Gas Technology Centre continues to lead on new technology and to support MER UK, which I was happy to visit in Aberdeen, on transformative technology. The work on exports that was mentioned is progressing well.

The work streams on other things that are part of Government policy, such as diversity and inclusion as well as CCUS, have developed very well. I was pleased that the Chancellor yesterday called for evidence to identify what more should be done to make Scotland and the UK a global hub for decommissioning, as the Chair of the Select Committee has talked about.