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MSPs urge Holyrood to keep oil and gas production in Scotland

By Kyle Ritchie

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North-east MSPs have pressed the Scottish Government to keep oil and gas production in Scotland or they said it faces hampering the climate even further by importing.

Liam Kerr and Tess White challenged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson to adopt the more environmentally friendly approach by keeping production in Scotland.

At First Minister's questions, Mr Kerr referenced the latest Oil and Gas Authority report which showed carbon emissions from imported oil and gas are more than double that of home-produced.

The shadow secretary Shadow Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport called on Nicola Sturgeon to support Scotland’s strong oil and gas sector instead of wanting to close the industry early.

North-east MSPs Tess White and Liam Kerr.
North-east MSPs Tess White and Liam Kerr.

Mr Kerr asked the First Minister: “Given the Oil and Gas Authority report, endorsed by Sir Ian Wood, shows the carbon footprint from imported gas is more than double that of domestically produced, does the First Minister agree that while there remains a Scottish demand, currently the most environmentally friendly approach and one that recognises the climate emergency, is to ensure we support the Scottish oil and gas sector?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “Where I do agree is that we must make this transition in a way and at a pace that doesn’t become counterproductive because it inadvertently increases reliance on imports so I think in principal that point is important.”

Mr Kerr later said: “Nicola Sturgeon is trying to make excuses for SNP-Green Government ministers who want to abandon our oil and gas industry.

“This nationalist coalition of chaos has a choice to make between protecting jobs or promoting their ideology.

“It’s quite clear that right now, their disgraceful obsession with independence matters more than the north-east and the oil and gas industry.

“The move to transition to net zero can’t happen overnight and it’s high time the SNP Government treats the oil and gas industry with fairness over the issue.”

Meanwhile, in a separate question to Michael Matheson, Ms White referenced a statement from Nicola Sturgeon in her 2019 Programme for Government speech when the First Minister said the early closure of UK production would lead to a “likely” increase in emissions.

Ms White, who is the party spokesperson on just transition, asked: “The hard fact is that early closure of domestic production before we are able to meet all demand from zero carbon sources would likely increase emissions because a significant proportion of the oil that would then require to be imported has a higher carbon intensity than UK production.

“Not my words but those of the First Minister. Do you agree?”

In his response, Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Government isn’t suggesting that oil and production should stop.

“Clearly it can’t be business as usual given the climate emergency we face.”

Ms White later said: “Their new best friend, the Greens, are in total disagreement with what Michael Matheson told me in his response to my question.

“The SNP has made a real mistake by turning their back on future projects such as the Cambo field, all to appease their new nationalist coalition partners.

“While Mr Matheson wants to cover the cracks within the coalition of chaos, it’s quite clear the Greens want to close the sector down immediately.”

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