Unite calls for focus on oil exploration – not just de...

Unite calls for focus on oil exploration – not just decommissioning

08 February 2017

Unite the union has called for a new focus on oil and gas exploration in the seas around Scotland – supported by new government investment.

Today Shell announced plans to remove facilities in the Brent field, shortly followed by the unveiling of a new £5 million Scottish Government fund to support decommissioning projects. 

But Scotland’s largest offshore union says that government and industry must ‘keep their eyes on the prize’ and start planning for new investment in exploration and extraction.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “In the last year, there has been a growing focus on decommissioning in the offshore sector. Some people might be forgiven for having the impression that the days of new exploration and extraction are coming to an end. Unite is clear – that is simply not the case. 

“We need a decommissioning strategy, and we need to ensure that any work supports jobs in Scotland and doesn’t go overseas. But while planning for future decommissioning, we should not take our eyes off the prize. Our focus must remain on extracting maximum economic benefit from the estimated 22 billion barrels of oil and gas still in the UK Continental Shelf. 

“We again call on the Scottish and UK governments to use their borrowing powers to take out public stakes in new offshore infrastructure. That would encourage companies to also invest, would support jobs, and would create returns for the public purse as the oil and gas begins to flow.”

On 23 February a cross-party motion supporting Unite’s call for public investment in new oil and gas exploration will be debated in the Scottish Parliament. The motion was lodged by Lewis Macdonald MSP and has already secured cross-party support. 

Pat Rafferty said: “Our members will be watching that debate with interest. We look forward to hearing what the Scottish Government has to say.”


Notes to editors 

For further information or to arrange an interview contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 /