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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-11050: Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 4 September 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to reports that, 19 months after the announcement by the UK Government that it would appoint an oil and gas ambassador, no such appointment has been made; what discussions it has had with the UK Government regarding this, and what analysis it has carried out of how this role not being filled has impacted on (a) market opportunities, (b) promotion of the North Sea and (c) inward investment.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 18 September 2017

There has been no appointment of an Oil and Gas Ambassador which was previously publicly committed to by the UK Government. This failure to deliver on a pre- 2016 election commitment by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, in yet another failure to follow through on commitments to the oil and gas sector and wider energy sector. While it is not possible to assess the impact of the failure by UK Ministers to create the post, it was anticipated that this would be helpful to boost efforts to secure overseas contracts for the sector, and, this oversight, suggests that it was a policy to grab headlines rather than deliver firm gains for the industry – this is especially disappointing at a time when the industry has faced difficult trading conditions, however, it should also be seen as less than helpful in the context that the industry has set itself an ambitious target to generate additional revenue of over £290 billion, by extending the life of the North Sea and maximising supply chain sales to international export markets

However, it is important to note that Scottish Development International (SDI), on behalf of Scottish Ministers, has and will continue to work closely with Scottish companies to offer significant financial incentives, and other assistance, to help businesses access international markets, including: the identification of market opportunities; market intelligence and strategy support; identification of business partners and finance options and the facilitation of connections and business relationships.

Examples of support that Scottish Government, through SDI, provides for growing international trade includes:

•In 2016-17 SDI supported 75 companies projecting significant turnover growth from exports, 170 companies entering new markets, 84 new products taken to international markets by supported companies, 33 successful inward investment projects and this was anticipated to support an additional 1029 total jobs associated with the 33 investment projects.

•The publication of the top 50 Oil and Gas International Guides was designed to provide Scottish supply chain companies with an appreciation of the key market opportunities in each of these markets as well as a view on future trends.

•Facilitating access to business opportunities through a program of overseas missions and exhibitions. These provide a platform for a company to access higher level opportunities than they would be able to access themselves. Examples of these events are:

?ADIPEC (Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference) – Scottish stand and Pavilion with 60 Scottish companies attending in 2016;

?OTC (Offshore Technology Conference in Houston) - Scottish stand and Pavilion with 56 Scottish companies attending in May 2017; and

?Offshore Europe in Aberdeen –Scottish stand and Pavilion with 51 Scottish companies supported in September 2017. This also included the facilitation of numerous meetings, including over 50 meetings between companies and Global Scot members.