No State Help Will See North Sea Oil Collapse
Unions call for part-nationalisation of industry
MINISTERS must part-nationalise North Sea oil and gas infrastructure or risk the collapse of the industry, workers warn today.
A new study of more than 800 offshore workers found that just 55 per cent saw a future for the sector — and only if there is government intervention. Some 24 per cent said they could see no future for the offshore sector at all.
And nearly 90 per cent said the Scottish and Westminster governments should buy up pipelines and platforms.
General union Unite, which carried out the survey, said ministers should use borrowing powers to buy up assets.
“The message from our members and other offshore workers in this survey is clear,” Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said.
“Unless government starts to come up with some new thinking for the oil and gas industry, the future is looking very bleak.
“We believe public stakes would encourage companies to also invest, supporting jobs and creating returns for the public purse in the future.”
The North Sea offshore industry has been in jeopardy since the collapse in the global oil price in the winter of 2014-15.
Fellow offshore union GMB warns today that taxpayers’ are likely to foot an increasing financial burden for North Sea decommissioning.
It called for the Westminster and Holyrood governments to bring forward an urgent investment programme to get Scottish ports and fabrication yards “decommissioning-ready.”
GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith said: “If we don’t act fast, then it could mean the worst of all worlds — a chance to boost economic and employment prospects gone and the taxpayer paying for the cleanup of the North Sea while other countries profit from decommissioning at our expense.
“The taxpayer is sick and tired of dishing out billions of their hard-earned money in subsidies to corporations with little to no return, so doing nothing at both the UK and Scottish government levels by ‘leaving it to the market’ is simply not an option.”
In the Unite survey, 83 per cent of workers had seen a reduction in skilled personnel. The finding follows years of warnings that the sector’s workforce is ageing.
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