Thank you for contacting me about the Cambo Oil Field. As you may know, the Cambo Oil Field was licensed in 2001 and 2004. However, consent to proceed to production is a matter for the UK’s regulators, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) and the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED). I understand that the OGA and OPRED are currently following their standard regulatory processes in relation to this case, which include a full environmental impact assessment and a public consultation.
Although UK Ministers are taking significant steps to drive down demand for fossil fuels, I recognise that oil and gas will continue to play an important role in our energy mix for the foreseeable future. This is a sentiment echoed by the independent Climate Change Committee. At present, the UK is a net importer of both oil and gas so reducing domestic production would only lead to higher imports from other countries.
My colleagues in the Scottish Parliament and I support a managed transition away from fossil fuels. However, this transition must not abandon Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland, where up to 105,000 jobs were supported by the oil and gas sector in 2019. With entire communities at stake, my MSP colleagues are calling on the Scottish Government to become a partner in the UK Government’s landmark North Sea Transition Deal. This Deal, the first of its kind within the G7, will see UK Government Ministers work with the sector and trade unions to deliver the skills, innovation and new infrastructure required to decarbonise North Sea production.
It is clear that many of the skills present in Scotland’s oil and gas sector are transferrable. Offshore renewables, as well as the future hydrogen and carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) industries rely heavily on existing skillsets within the oil and gas industry, so my MSP colleagues are calling for much greater investment in offshore wind, green hydrogen, tidal energy, hydroelectricity and CCUS.
Given the scale of opportunity, I am disappointed by the Scottish Government’s poor record on green jobs. Despite promising in 2010 to create 130,000 Scottish green jobs by 2020, the latest statistics show that only 21,400 direct green jobs had been delivered by that time. And worse, that is down from 23,200 in 2014. My colleagues in the Scottish Parliament have assured me that they will continue to follow the matter closely in Holyrood.