Scotland business

Energy taskforce holds first meeting

North Sea oil rig Image copyright AFP

A new taskforce set up to support jobs in the Scottish energy sector has met for the first time to discuss opportunities for hundreds of people facing redundancy.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set up the new body earlier this month.

Executives from the likes of BP, Taqa, Petrofac and the Wood Group took part in the meeting, along with union officials and politicians.

Last week, 300 job cuts were announced at Talisman Sinopec's north east base.

BP and other companies have already announced similar job losses, pay cuts and freezes as the low price of oil continues to hit the industry.

The taskforce is planning an event in Aberdeen to provide advice and further training for those facing redundancy.

'Major challenges'

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson, who chairs the taskforce, said: "There was an overwhelming sense of determination and collaboration from the members of the taskforce at today's first meeting.

"Whilst there's recognition that the industry both at home and internationally has major challenges ahead, the group has absolute confidence in the strength and resilience of the sector and is acutely aware of the future opportunities this industry will provide.

"There were some great ideas shared at today's meeting and there will be swift progress in turning these into tangible actions.

"We have a helpline available for those facing redundancy, will be launching an online presence and will be delivering a large employability event Aberdeen in the near future."

Anyone facing redundancy in the industry can call the PACE helpline on 0800 917 8000.

'Highly skilled'

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "The calibre and breadth of expertise of the energy jobs taskforce members shows that we have the right people for the job round the table, working together to help those who will feel the pinch in falling oil prices the most.

"There is a real risk that the current fall in the oil price will lead to the premature decommissioning of assets and the loss of highly skilled workers.

"The Scottish government, along with public sector partners, industry representatives and commercial companies, are doing what we can and within this context, I think it is vital that the UK government acts now."

The taskforce, which will hold monthly meetings, is to report to the Scottish Energy Advisory Board.

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