The taskforce established by the Scot-Govt. to support jobs in the energy sector following the 50%-plus plunge in crude oil prices will meet for the first time in Aberdeen on Wednesday (28 Jan).

The new Energy Jobs Taskforce, chaired by Lena Wilson, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise will report to the Scottish Energy Advisory Board and will focus on jobs across the entire industry, but with an initial emphasis on the oil and gas sector.

The Scottish Energy Advisory Board which will continue to be co-chaired by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Professor Jim McDonald.

Aberdeen Council is due to hold its own oil and gas industry summit next Monday (2 Feb).

Wilson, said: "We've made quick progress in forming this Taskforce – which represents a strong and united public and private sector partnership that is committed to working together to support this vital industry throughout these challenging times. While current circumstances are difficult, we also need to remember that this is a resilient industry – one which has weathered the storm before and will do so again.

"We have an urgent and immediate task at hand to retain the jobs, skills and talent which is the bedrock of Scotland's internationally competitive energy sector. The depth of knowledge and expertise this newly formed task force offers will undoubtedly make an invaluable contribution to that task and help shape support to meet the current and future need for our energy sector."

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "Since oil was discovered more than 40 years ago, we have built a world class industrial cluster in the North Sea and now export the skills and services required to support it around the world.

"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. Within this context, I think it is vital that the UK Government acts now.

"The North Sea has made an enormous contribution to the Scottish and UK economies over the last 40 years. It is now vital, in order to prolong the life of the industry beyond 2050 and maximise economic benefits, that the UK Government maintains the momentum for fiscal and regulatory change in the oil and gas sector.

"Chief among the action required is an immediate reversal of the 2011 hike in the Supplementary Charge and I made it clear that it is not sufficient for this change to wait until the March budget as Alistair Carmichael <Scottish Secretary> suggested last week."

A fine example of Scots oil sector skills being exported around the world can currently be seen in Aberdeen harbour, where the subsea support vessel African Inspiration (above) is currently berthed to install two 200hp workclass ROV systems and other project equipment. The 113m Havyard Type 857 subsea IRM vessel is fitted with a 250 tonne deepwater crane, has a gross tonnage of 9,618 and crew capacity of 120.

Marine Platforms, which has a technical support base in Westhill, is carrying out the fit-out for the ship's deep-water oil support work off the Nigerian coast. Set up in 2001, Marine Platforms specialises in subsea construction, life of field services, ROV operations, engineering support, supply vessel operations and well bore clean-up.

Chief technical officer Angus Kerr, said: "We employ locally based personnel for both on and offshore operations as well as requiring the services of many local vendors. Nigeria, like many other countries, now requires a higher level of in country workers and using the expertise of the team here we assist with the development of Nigerian personnel ensuring a sustainable future for both our Nigerian and UK workforces."

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