Scotland politics

N-56 calls for oil and gas decision-makers to be in Aberdeen

north sea platform Image copyright AFP
Image caption N-56 called for decisions to be made closer to the industry's jobs and businesses

Key decision-makers responsible for oil and gas industry taxation and regulation should be moved from London to Aberdeen, a business group has said.

N-56 set out a five-point plan for the North Sea oil and gas industry in a letter to UK Chancellor George Osborne and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The economic think tank said the move would build on the decision to locate the new industry regulator in Aberdeen.

It said it would mirror the way of working in Norway.

The report said UK government functions such as HM Treasury oil and gas taxation and Department of Energy and Climate Change oil operations should be moved to Aberdeen to be closer to the oil and gas industry.

It also wants the Scottish government's Energy Directorate to be relocated "closer to those whose jobs and businesses depend on the continued success of the sector".

Economic impact

Dan Macdonald, founder of N-56 and former Yes Scotland advisory board member, said: "90% of oil and gas reserves lie in Scottish waters.

"It is vital that those policy and decision makers responsible for taxation and regulation of the sector are located in Aberdeen where development of the industry is properly understood.

"We can then ensure the delivery of a sector that is responsive to those most impacted by it."

The report also calls for a tax regime designed to maximise economic impact of the sector, a hydrocarbon investment bank to boost investment, a Norwegian-style long-term strategy to fully exploit reserves left in the North Sea and measures to encourage research and development into offshore fracking.

It was published as MSPs prepared to debate the oil and gas sector at Holyrood in the run-up to the chancellor's 18 March budget statement.

Welcoming the report, Scotland's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "We compete for investment with other basins all over the world. Right now we are not competitive because both costs and tax are too high."

A Treasury spokeswoman said: "The government is following developments in the North Sea closely and is working with industry leaders as a matter of priority to address the challenges the industry faces."

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