Parliamentary Update Conference activity
The conferences also provided an opportunity for us to make contact with senior politicians and their backroom staff. At the Liberal Democrat conference we met Danny Alexander, Alistair Carmichael, Willie Rennie (the Scottish party leader) and Sir Robert Smith. We met with Meg Hillier during the Labour Conference and, at the Conservative Conference, we met Peter Aldous, (MP for Waveney) and the Scottish Conservative leadership contenders – Ruth Davidson, Margaret Mitchell, Murdo Fraser and Jackson Carlow.
October was party conference season and Oil & Gas UK had a presence at all three national events. Working with Policy Exchange, Oil & Gas UK sponsored three successful fringe events entitled ‘Re-monopolising Power? Reforming the Electricity Market’ which involved a diverse range of speakers including MPs, academics and those from think tanks and industry.
Our political engagement continued outside the UK party conferences, with another fringe at the SNP conference in Inverness at the end of October. Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, spoke on the theme of the oil and gas supply chain. Oil & Gas UK had an introductory meeting with Mr Ewing at the beginning of October. The meeting was productive and signals the beginning of a good relationship
Oil and gas parliamentary groups
Wider political engagement continues with the two groups in Westminster and Holyrood. The Westminster Oil & Gas All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) met on the 13 October for a lunchtime briefing on Oil & Gas UK’s 2011 Economic Report. Further APPG meetings focusing on security of energy supply and skills and an offshore trip are planned over the coming months.
Meanwhile, in Holyrood, the Cross Party Group (CPG) on Oil and Gas meets on 30 November. The final agenda will be circulated soon, but expect a speaker from Capturing the Energy and discussion of the Oil & Gas UK Economic Report. In addition, several members of the APPG and CPG will take part in a two day excursion programme (organised in conjunction with Total E&P UK) including offshore survival training and a visit to the Elgin-Franklin installation.
In recent months, work in Brussels has been dominated by the Commission’s forthcoming proposals around offshore safety and related matters (see also page 3). On the political side of things, Oil & Gas UK has continued to engage with relevant UK MEPs prior to key votes in the European Parliament. We maintained close contact with Vicky Ford MEP in the run up to the plenary vote on her report on offshore safety. We also urged all UK MEPs to reject a last minute alternative motion for resolution put forward by the Green (Verts/ALE) political grouping which called for a suspension of oil and gas activities in EU waters. This amendment was rejected and the text of the report finalised
much as we had expected – the final version representing as good a result as industry could, realistically, have achieved.
Oil & Gas UK has also engaged with UK MEPs sitting on the Parliament’s Environment Committee. Working in close collaboration with OGP, we provided voting recommendations on the Committee’s report on a revised Seveso Directive (for the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances). Again, the finalised text reflected many of the points we had raised in the key areas of importance to industry.
For further information please contact Oil & Gas UK’s External Affairs Team: Andrew Bassett on firstname.lastname@example.org
or Jenny Stanning on email@example.com
with the Scottish Energy Minister. We are also engaging with the UK Business Secretary on skills and support for the supply chain.
Skills were a key topic for discussion at Offshore Europe this year; working with some of our members, we organised a political tour of the stands and a photo opportunity and briefing at the OSPRAG capping device, officially launched by the UK Energy Minister, Charles Hendry. Local MPs, Sir Robert Smith and Malcolm Bruce, joined some new faces at Holyrood, Kevin Stewart and Dennis Robertson, and some more established MSPs in Tavish Scott, Maureen Watt, Lewis Macdonald and Richard Baker.
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