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21 June 2016

Local MSP Calls for a Sustainable Oil and Gas Future

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has called for UK support for the oil and gas industry.

Mr Stevenson called for investment and exploration in the North Sea. He went on to stress need to retain skills from the sector and the dangers of fracking during an economy debate in the Scottish Parliament.
Exploration levels in the oil and gas sector currently sit at an all-time low. Recent projections for 2016 estimating half the number of exploration wells compared to 2015.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“There is still huge potential for investment in the oil and gas sector. A third of our oil remains in the North Sea and that is without any new discoveries. Oil is still being found, as evidenced by the massive Johan Sverdrup field, discovered a few years ago in the Norwegian area of the sea.

“Equally, there was an opportunity to transfer the skills of those in the north-east to sustainable renewable technology. UK Conservative Government policy has denied this. The decision to remove investment in renewable energy industries has been particularly damaging to the prospects of employment of those in the north-east.

“Today the Conservative amendment sought to impress the idea that fracking was an easy alternative. The answer is not fracking. What the Conservatives choose to ignore is the damage that any such action might have.

“We can learn from the experience of the United States on this. Their experience indicates that people are exposed to known carcinogens, deadly lung disease and a general decline in health. While the US Environmental Protection Agency reports that there is uncertainty, research does show that there are 12.2 spills for every 100 wells, spills reach surface water in 9% of cases and caused contaminated soil in 64%.

“The risks involved without sufficient information on fracking remain too great. As such it remains vital that we continue to push the UK Government on its support for the offshore oil and gas sector. We need to encourage exploration in the North Sea Basin and investment in renewable energies.”
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