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Unions Holding Oil And Gas Talks In Aberdeen

Union leaders and the offshore body Oil and Gas UK are to hold talks about the future of the industry.

The RMT union said the "ongoing threat to jobs and the long-term security of the UK's energy supplies" would be discussed in Aberdeen on Friday.

The RMT said it would be pushing for a halt to job cuts.

It comes the day after energy giant BP announced 200 jobs and 100 contractor roles would go following a review of its North Sea operations.

The price of a barrel of oil dropped to a low of about $46 earlier this week from a peak of about $115 last summer.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT believes that these big, wealthy companies are forcing offshore workers to bear the brunt of what we see as a complete failure to plan for a downturn like the one we have been plunged into due to the slump in oil prices.

"Instead they have gone for a short-term slash and burn approach that will have long-term implications for the future of the entire industry and the security of the UK's energy supplies.

"RMT, along with our sister unions, is meeting with Oil and Gas UK where we will be pushing for a halt to the job cuts programme and an emergency package of measures to stave off the destruction of both jobs and infrastructure."

'Real challenge'

He added: "The union is also continuing to lobby politicians for incentives to allow exploration, maintenance, safety and engineering development works to take place during this emergency period for the industry."

UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey - who met industry leaders in Aberdeen on Thursday following BP's announcement - hinted that some tax breaks for the sector could be included in George Osborne's Budget.

A new task force, led by the first chief executive of the new oil and gas regulator, Andy Samuels, has been asked to report next month.

Mr Osborne later told the BBC that falling oil prices had "helped families" and "cut prices at the petrol pumps".

He added: "Of course that's all very welcome. But there is one part of our country where it's a real challenge and that's the North Sea oil and gas industry which is a really important industry for us.

"That's why this month we have cut taxes in the North Sea and of course, with the budget approaching we're going to look at what more we can do to support investment there."

On Wednesday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the falling price of oil posed a risk to jobs in the North Sea as she also announced the Scottish government was setting up its own task force to help the sector.


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