The publication of the Conservative Party Manifesto document over the weekend included a proposal for an oil and gas sector deal.
In the section of the document relating to Scotland, the following was announced:
“Oil and gas sector deal: The oil and gas industry employs almost 300,000 people, of whom four in 10 work in Scotland. We believe that the North Sea oil and gas industry has a long future ahead and know the sector has a key role to play as we move to a Net Zero economy. We will support this transition in the next Parliament with a transformational sector deal.”
No further details of what such a deal may contain were included in the Manifesto document and we can see no public announcements providing any detail either.
The 2017 manifesto included a similar statement of support for the industry. Some readers may recall that the Scottish Affairs Committee published a report entitled “The future of the oil and gas industry” on 4 February 2019. That report voiced support for a new oil and gas sector deal focusing on the existing policy of maximising economic recovery.
At that time the Government replied by stating what had already been done to support the industry. This Manifesto proposal may be signalling an intention to revisit this and open up further dialogue on how the future of the oil and gas sector in the UK can be supported. These positive comments are in stark contrast to the Labour threat of a windfall tax.