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SNP-Green deal would lead to ‘tidal wave’ of oil and gas redundancies, says north-east MP

The future of the oil and gas industry has become significant in negotiations between the SNP and Greens.
The future of the oil and gas industry has become significant in negotiations between the SNP and Greens.

A potential deal between the SNP and Greens would risk the oil and gas sector “being held at knifepoint”, a north-east MP has claimed.

The two parties have been locked in discussions at a senior level over a co-operation agreement which could put Greens into the Scottish Government.

The future of oil and gas has become a sticking point in the negotiations with the Greens pledging to “phase out” oil and gas in the North Sea.

The issue fell sharply under the spotlight on Thursday after Nicola Sturgeon made a significant intervention where she called on UK ministers to “reassess” the Cambo oil field plan.

‘Thousands in fear of their jobs’

Andrew Bowie, Scottish Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, has written to north-east SNP MPs to share his concerns around the proposed power-sharing deal.

He described the move as “potentially devastating for the energy sector and the north-east of Scotland in general”.

He wrote: “If the Greens have their way, they would turn off the taps tomorrow, leaving thousands in fear of their jobs and the wider north-east economy at dire risk.

“It will be left to you to seek meetings with ministers, contact PACE, and hope that the work the industry is already doing to move jobs to renewables can keep pace with the tidal wave of redundancies that can be expected.”

Aberdeenshire West and North Kincardine Conservative MP Andrew Bowie has warned the co-operation agreement between the SNP and the Greens could be “potentially devasting” for the north-east.

Mr Bowie said that aside from putting “thousands” of jobs at stake, the Greens also want to “cease dualling” of the A9 Inverness to Perth and A96 Aberdeen to Inverness roads.

And he added the party want to introduce “further, punishing regulation on those who manage the land and create economic opportunities on sporting estates”.

He said: “In short, they are a danger to the entire north-east.”

The first minister was accused of jeopardising jobs after she demanded the UK Government launch a review of previously-approved oil and gas licences in order to respond to the “severity of the climate emergency”.

This has been seen as early evidence of the “influence” of the Greens, as the two parties continue to debate the details of the proposed co-operation agreement.

IPCC report

Mr Bowie’s intervention comes amid a landmark UN report which found it was “unequivocal” human activity is responsible for global warming and that “widespread and rapid changes” have already occurred in every inhabited region across the globe.

Antonio Guterres, United Nations secretary-general said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paper signalled a “code red for humanity” and “must sound a death knell for fossil fuels”. 

Aberdeen South SNP MP Stephen Flynn wants to see the north-east transformed into a “renewables powerhouse”.

Aberdeen South SNP MP Stephen Flynn said the country cannot find itself in the position where it is “ever more reliant” on imports of oil and gas.

He said the independent Committee on Climate Change has been “clear in detailing that current North Sea production will not meet demand on the Balanced Net Zero Pathway”.

‘Unnecessary fights’

Mr Flynn added: “A just, fair, transition that protects jobs and livelihoods here in Aberdeen has to be at the forefront of all of our efforts and in that regard the UK Government hold all the cards and they have failed miserably to deliver the investment necessary.

“Ultimately, Andrew Bowie would be well placed to join me in trying to persuade his Tory colleagues of the merits of transforming the north-east into a renewables powerhouse rather than picking unnecessary fights.”

The Scottish Greens declined to comment on the letter but have previously said it is “risky and dangerous” to leave oil and gas workers dependent on an industry that must be phased out.

The party’s co-leader Lorna Slater said her party wants to “start cutting back the subsidies” and redirecting the money into renewable energy. 

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