Scotland business

Warning over Aberdeen's '£376bn offshore potential'

North Sea oil platform
Image caption The report said greater collaboration was needed to maintain Aberdeen as a world-class energy capital

The UK offshore oil and gas industry could still generate more than £376bn in revenues, according to a report by a leading accountants firm.

But PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) warned action was needed if Aberdeen was to continue as a world-class energy capital in years to come.

The report argued industry as well as financial, public sector and academic stakeholders should collaborate more.

Otherwise, it said, the chance to create a lasting legacy could be lost.

The report said the UK continental shelf could generate more than £376bn ($600bn) in new revenues through a combination of fresh funding and investment, fiscal certainty and targeted incentives.

Greater public and private sector collaboration and a more co-ordinated approach by industry and education were also needed.

New frontiers

The report argued there needed to be a single, defined strategy for maximising oil reserves by exploiting new frontier areas west of Shetland and in the Arctic.

And it warned that the ambition for Aberdeen to become a European renewables capital could be lost because few firms were focussing on what their role would be in the sector.

Mark Higginson, PwC senior partner in Aberdeen, said: "We have a remarkable - and potentially unrepeatable - opportunity to position the city as an international energy centre of excellence for the next 40 years.

"However, this isn't simply going to fall to Aberdeen by right.

"We need to shape our own destiny and the journey must start now, with everyone focussed on a single, definitive strategy that embraces core objectives of maximising oil reserves, exploiting the new frontier areas west of Shetland and the Arctic, becoming a talent magnet and more effectively serving the needs of industry, and viewing clean energy not as a consolation prize but as a complement to oil and gas revenues."

'Cash cow'

He added: "The public sector has a clear role to play in showing leadership and helping to balance the competing views and interests of various stakeholders as well as helping improve the city's image and desirability as a place to live and work.

"The government also should view the UK continental shelf as an opportunity for investment and not simply as a 'cash cow' and also acknowledge the need for an attractive, transparent and stable fiscal regime."

The PwC report also said recruiting and retaining talent remained a major issue, with two-thirds of chief executives saying they feared they would not have access to the right people as recovery in the industry took hold.

It suggested enhancing the collaboration between industry and academics through the creation of an Aberdeen Energy Academy.

The academy, it said, would have the the potential to create courses that would appeal to the next generation and serve the future needs of the industry.

A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the report.

He said: "With up to 40% of oil and gas reserves still to be extracted, and over half of the revenues still to be generated, the UK government should be giving more certainty to the industry and restore confidence that has been badly dented by the Treasury's conduct this year.

"As this report demonstrates, there is plenty of life left in the industry. Indeed, if it had not been for the Budget blow, it would be at the centre of an unprecedented boom in jobs and investment."

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