Scotland’s energy minister Paul Wheelhouse has suggested Scottish and UK ministers could join forces to provide incentives for North Sea exploration.
The minister said more UK discoveries were needed to ensure self-sufficiency ahead of the UK’s low carbon transition, as demand for oil and gas remains high across the UK.
Exploration and appraisal drilling has been in decline since the 2014 price crash, which forces companies to slash spending and investment.
Wheelhouse suggested the UK Government and Scotland could work together to increase the number of companies drilling in the North Sea, as responsibility for oil and gas policy is not devolved and rests with the politicians in London.
He said: “The one area that perhaps we would welcome further work in, and I appreciate it’s not as easy as it may sound, but we need to work together to try to find a solution to this, is to look for new incentives to stimulate exploration activity, which has taken a big hit.
“It is starting to pick up certainly, but to ensure we have self-sufficiency in oil and gas production during the low carbon transition, we need to maintain our levels of investment in exploration to ensure that in the 2020s we have new fields entering production.”