Where have all the jobs gone?

Oil rig Image copyright Thinkstock

Brent crude has been flirting with the $50 mark, and the prospect of a further rise towards a sustainable level in the sixties dollar range.

The boss of Total, speaking to the BBC this week, gave a pithy insight into the market - that they used to think $100 per barrel was effectively a price floor, and now it feels more like there's a ceiling.

And yet neither is true, he added. The price goes up and down, no-one can be sure where and when.

While it stays under the $60 zone, there's a lot of adjustment still to go in the Scottish oil and gas sector, as we learned from the latest Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce survey.

It found nearly two-thirds of contractors reduced staffing in the past year. In the next year, 15% said they expected to boost hiring, but 30% said the cuts would go on.

Read full article Where have all the jobs gone?

Getting a handle on the new cabinet

Scottish cabinet at Bute House Image copyright Getty Images

The new shape of the Scottish Cabinet, as posed for photographs on the steps of Bute House, has implications for the way government handles business and the economy.

New tax powers mean a new finance role, carved out from the vast array of things that John Swinney has been doing for the past nine years. That's one for Derek Mackay, who is highly rated by the First Minister.

Read full article Getting a handle on the new cabinet

Apron strings: When airports are liberated

Glasgow Airport Image copyright Glasgow Airport

Remember BAA plc, the privatised successor to the British Airports Authority?

Seven years ago, it was fiercely battling to dissuade the Competition Commission from splitting it up.

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Is Nippon's sun setting in the north?

Culzean development Image copyright Maersk Oil
Image caption BP to take on a 16% stake in the Culzean field, off the coast at Aberdeen

JX Nippon is a big player in Japanese energy and metals. It's the country's biggest oil firm, retailing under the ENEOS brand - not to be confused with Ineos, the refining and chemical specialist that owns much of Grangemouth.

The Japanese company has quite a big stake in the UK North Sea, buying into more of it during the recent boom years.

Read full article Is Nippon's sun setting in the north?

Tennent's glass is half full

Tennent's lager Image copyright Tennent Caledonian

Here are some words which may have you bursting with pride, or despair:

"Despite the short-term dip, the fundamentals in Scotland remain as they were. There have been no material shifts in customer, competitor or consumer dynamics."

Read full article Tennent's glass is half full

Holyrood: Down to business for the SNP

Scottish Parliament building Image copyright PA

Let's give a big hand to the electorate. After an election campaign that was lacking somewhat in the lustre department, the result was anything but.

The SNP won big, but not big enough for a majority. Labour was knocked into third place by a Tory surge. Lib Dems were knocked into fifth place by the Greens.

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Rebooting banks: challengers and challenging software

RBS sign Image copyright AFP/Getty

Royal Bank of Scotland has been eye-balling its shareholders at the annual general meeting in Edinburgh, with a warning that the legacy of its misdeeds requires yet more clearing up.

Maybe next year could see things turn sort of normal.

Read full article Rebooting banks: challengers and challenging software

Oil's climbing back

North Sea il rig Image copyright Nexen

The cocktail of dirty sticky stuff extracted from the Brent and other oil fields off Aberdeen is having a lot more impact on the world economy than it is on the Scottish election campaign.

The softening of Scottish economic performance - much of it driven by the weakness in the oil and sector, though probably not all - has barely registered in the campaign.

Read full article Oil's climbing back

Sturgeon the surgeon?

Bins Image copyright PA
Image caption Emptying bins is one of many services carried out by councils

There could be more change afoot from the Scottish National Party than their rivals are alleging. Sure, they're looking relatively tame in their use of new taxation powers.

But another theme can be found in their manifesto, which - if the polls are any guide - may become a feature of the next few years in Scotland's public life.

Read full article Sturgeon the surgeon?

Shipping forecast: visibility moderate to poor

Type-26 frigate Image copyright BAE Systems

It's less than eight years since the Ministry of Defence forced the merger of shipbuilding rivals BAE Systems and Vosper Thorneycroft.

It was judged a waste of public money to retain so much capacity for the Royal Navy.

Read full article Shipping forecast: visibility moderate to poor