Scotland business

GMB report says North Sea gas must remain in energy mix

Gas flame Image copyright PA

Ministers should be securing the use of North Sea gas in Scotland's energy mix, according to a trade union report.

GMB Scotland, which represents workers in the domestic gas sector, has accused the Scottish government of attacking the gas industry.

Most electricity is generated through gas but ministers are aiming to further decarbonise the sector, with an increasing emphasis on renewables.

The Scottish government said it supported a diverse energy portfolio.

The union argues that it is too early to move away from gas.

The GMB Scotland paper, Natural Gas in the Energy Policy of the UK and Scotland, is being presented at the STUC conference in Aviemore.

The report was produced by Strathclyde University's Centre for Energy Policy.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Most electricity is generated through gas but ministers have placed an increasing emphasis on renewables

It concludes that the choice should not be whether or not to include gas in our energy mix but where that gas comes from.

Increasing volumes are being imported from overseas and the report says such a shift will have a significant negative impact on jobs and revenue.

GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith said: "The future of affordable domestic energy in our country is at risk and the Scottish government cannot keep dodging the tough choices we need to make if we are to meaningfully tackle fuel poverty.

"Our political elite also have to be honest about the economic and employment ramifications of abandoning gas, which powers our manufacturing base, heats our homes and employs thousands in well-paid jobs.

"The Centre for Energy Policy report shows that we are increasingly dependent on imported gas and our energy consumption demands cannot be credibly met without gas.

"Abandoning domestic gas production makes no sense whatsoever from an economic, environmental or energy security perspective."

'Absolutely committed'

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: "Scotland is estimated to be the second largest gas producer in the EU and the North Sea oil and gas industry supports almost 125,000 Scottish jobs.

"We are absolutely committed to maintaining domestic oil and gas production and maximising economic recovery from the North Sea.

"We support a diverse and balanced energy portfolio, including gas, to provide safe, secure, affordable heat and electricity for decades to come.

"We also recognise the potential significance of hydrogen and are supporting a number of innovative projects to support its production, storage and use and there is interest within the oil and gas sector in utilising the industry's expertise to support the development of a decarbonised energy system."

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