SNP Wins Scottish Election, Pledges Support to Oil, Gas Industry

The Scottish National Party has won the Scottish general election after pledging to support the oil and gas industry, becoming the first party to win a third consecutive term in office.

In January the SNP announced that it was injecting $180 million (GBP 125 million) into northeast Scotland’s economy, as part of an overall $358 million (GBP 250 million) funding package from the UK and Scottish parliaments designed to help the region’s oil and gas sector. The UK City Deal includes funding for a new energy innovation centre, an expansion of Aberdeen harbour to enable the city to compete for decommissioning work and measures to support the industry to exploit remaining North Sea reserves.

“Oil and gas is a crucial sector, not just for the North East of Scotland but for the whole of the UK,” said the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, in a government statement back in January.

“I know it’s a very tough time for people who work in the industry and their families, and I am determined that the UK Government will do what it can to support them,” he added.

SNP MSP Mark McDonald told Rigzone in February that the deal demonstrated that the SNP was “absolutely committed to supporting the North East and ensuring the long term prosperity of the region.”

The SNP also revealed in February that it was helping oil and gas workers retrain as teachers in the wake of falling employment in the sector due to the current market downturn. As part of the plans, the party announced that it would develop a pathway into teaching for oil and gas workers through the use of the $17 million (GBP 12 million) Transition Training Fund.

“It’s essential that we keep skilled workers in the North East and give individuals the opportunity to retrain into new fields. Creating a pathway into teaching is an ideal way to allow oil and gas workers to pass on their skills and experience to the next generation,” said McDonald.

The number of redundancies or job consultations announced by oil and gas companies in Scotland has reached almost 10,000, according to figures from the Scottish Government. Oil & Gas UK estimate that the total employment supported by the sector across the UK has fallen by around 65,000 jobs.

SNP won 63 seats in the latest general election, beating the Conservatives and Labour into first place. The party failed to win an overall majority however, which means it will have to rely on opposition parties to pass legislation.

“It is the greatest privilege imaginable to be elected as the First Minister of our country,” said Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP.

“To those who voted for me yesterday, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have given me a precious opportunity to change this country for the better and I promise to seize it with both hands.”

A graduate in journalism from Cardiff University, Andreas has eight years of experience as a business journalist. Email Andreas at andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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