10 April 2007

Stevenson Launches New Era For Shell At St Fergus


SNP Scottish Parliament candidate Stewart Stevenson officially launched a £350 million upgrade and investment by Shell in the St Fergus Gas Terminal today. Mr Stevenson was joined at the launch by Peterhead councillor Anne Allan, who is Vice-Convener of the council's Buchan Area Committee.

The investment secures 300 jobs at the terminal as well as creating work for contractors at the site over the course of the upgrade.

Local SNP MP Alex Salmond lobbied and won a tax concession from the Treasury for the St Fergus pipeline in the 2003 Budget, to ensure St Fergus remained a competitive landfall point. Before the SNP's intervention, gas that arrived at St Fergus through the FLAGS system was taxed at 70%, a higher rate than in England and Belgium.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

" I was delighted to have the honour of launching such a positive initiative and very much welcome the project. It is not only a vote of confidence for the North Sea offshore sector but will also secure gas supplies for consumers across Scotland for many years to come.

"St Fergus is a very important part of the North-east economy and where most of the UK's gas comes ashore so it is a critical part of our energy infrastructure.

"This major investment is also good news for local jobs and the local economy in Banff & Buchan. It will significantly contribute to the sustainability and viability of these rural communities.

"I should add that this project would never have gone ahead had it not been for Alex Salmond's successful lobbying of the UK Treasury for a change in the tax regime which removed the tax burden on pipelines into St Fergus and allowed it to compete on an equal footing with terminals in England and Belgium.

"Today we are reaping the benefits of the SNP's sustained efforts to protect and promote Scotland's oil industry. An SNP government will release the potential of Scotland's oil and gas and invest its profits in the future of our nation for generations to come."

SNP Leader Alex Salmond MP welcomed the Shell announcement for a £350 million investment programme securing hundreds of jobs in the gas industry. The five-year plan upgrade involves supplies of gas from Norway being piped to St Fergus, north of Peterhead.

Banff & Buchan MP Alex Salmond added:

"This is an extremely welcome development. The hard won Budget tax concession in 2003 lobbied for by the SNP has helped ensure the future of the industry, which is extremely bright.

"Despite Gordon Brown's politically motivated attempts to talk down the industry, the reality is that there will be revenues of £55 billion from the North Sea over the next six years, compared to £34 billion over the last six."

Cllr Anne Allan (SNP-Blackhouse) concluded:

"This is a tremendous boost for the Buchan area and secures the future of one of our key local industries.

"Having employers such as Shell in the area gives a tremendous breadth and depth to the range and number of skills opportunities which can be used locally and we are very fortunate in this regard to have both the companies based at St Fergus and the training available from Banff & Buchan College."

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