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Fall in oil prices brings 'crippling uncertainty' for north workers

OIL workers in the north are facing "crippling uncertainty" due to the global fall in oil prices, which has been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

The comment was made by Highland councillor Struan Mackie who wants the Scottish and UK governments to take action to help the industry. He says it is "an absolute necessity" such a vitally important part of the economy is protected.

Councillor Mackie, who represents Thurso and Northwest Caithness, described the slump in oil prices and production – largely caused by the fall in demand due to the virus – as "deeply concerning". He said: "The global economic slowdown, which has been exacerbated by the spread of coronavirus, is creating crippling uncertainty for oil and gas workers in the north.

"Despite the many ups and downs in the fortunes of North Sea production, the global fall in oil and gas prices has seen traders offload the US benchmark for oil for negative values – the first time this has happened. Prices have been falling in almost every other category too."

The West Texas Intermediate is one of two main benchmark prices for purchases of oil worldwide. The other is Brent crude, which has also been falling.

"Although Aberdeen is the centre of the European oil and gas industry, the north of Scotland has provided thousands of highly skilled oil workers to the North Sea and beyond," Councillor Mackie said.

"That is why the ramifications of a global slump in demand and production are deeply concerning for oil sector employees and their families across Highland.

"Action is needed and is needed fast. Aberdeen City Council has petitioned both Scottish and UK governments to provide financial assistance to the industry, something I have asked the Highland Council to support.

"Post Covid-19, we need workers to have jobs to go back to in order to kick-start the economy and return to as close to normality as possible. A tailored package of support for the North Sea oil and gas industry is an absolute necessity to ensure a vitally important part of the economy is protected."


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