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03/09/13 08:45

Oil and Gas Expert Commission

Today Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, announced the establishment of an Independent Expert Commission on Oil and Gas.

The Expert Commission, chaired by leading industry figure, Melfort Campbell, will consider options for the implementation of the key principles set out in the Scottish Government’s paper ‘Maximising the return from Oil and Gas in an Independent Scotland’ that was published on July 23, 2013.

The Commission will provide independent expert advice on the technical application of the policy framework in an independent Scotland. In doing so it will consider how the fiscal, regulatory or licensing regime in an independent Scotland could address the future challenges facing the sector, and harness the opportunities available. Stakeholders will be invited to give evidence to ensure comprehensive consideration is given to all relevant issues and a broad range of industry views are reflected in the final report.

Melfort Campbell will be accompanied by Professor Alex Kemp, Professor Rita Marcella, and Dick Winchester. The Commission will produce a full report in six months and will feed in to the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence in the Autumn.

Melfort Campbell said:

“I am very pleased to be chairing this Independent Expert Commission. I and the other commissioners are very much looking forward to working closely with a wide range of industry figures to ensure that the final report is comprehensive and is representative of the industry as a whole. This represents a vital opportunity for the industry to have a say in what oil and gas policy could look like in an independent Scotland.”

This Expert Commission is fundamental to ensuring that an Independent Scotland develops a framework built on engagement with industry, and that the industry has the optimum conditions to innovate, grow and thrive in a globally competitive market.

Announcing the Expert Commission, Fergus Ewing said:

“I am delighted to announce the establishment of this Independent Expert Commission which will play a key role in shaping the framework for the oil and gas sector in an Independent Scotland.

“This Government is committed to positive engagement with the Oil and Gas Industry and I am very confident that the work of this Commission will provide vital advice and recommendations on the technical application of the policy framework which would underpin Scottish Government Policy in an Independent Scotland.

“The Scottish Government values independent advice while refining its final proposals for the operation of the offshore fiscal, regulatory and licensing regimes and that is why today’s announcement is of key importance.

“My colleagues and I are committed to an open and informed debate about Scotland’s constitutional future. Engagement with key stakeholders is vital to ensure a clear and robust case is put into the public domain on areas of strategic importance to Scotland’s economy and society."

Notes to editors

Melfort Campbell OBE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Imes Group and co-chair of the Oil and Gas Industry Leadership Group. Melfort also sits on the Scottish Energy Advisory Board and is a board member of Scottish Enterprise. Melfort has 35 years’ experience in the high integrity engineering business, over 30 years’ experience in the oil industry, as well as defence, nuclear power and processing industry experience.

Professor Kemp (Professor of Petroleum Economics, and Director of the Aberdeen Centre for Research in Energy Economics and Finance at the University of Aberdeen) will bring a wealth of experience and expertise not only in relation to the fiscal framework but more widely in relation to his knowledge of the future challenges and opportunities for the north sea.

Professor Marcella (Dean of Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University) has to date conducted extensive research into the health and safety and regulatory regimes applying to the oil and gas industry internationally, and is continuing to conduct and commission research on the lessons needing to be learned for the future on these vital matters for the industry in Scotland.

Dick Winchester sits on the Scottish Energy Advisory Board and has 25 years’ experience running technology businesses, serving the energy industry. Currently Managing Director of Pipistrelle Ltd. He will bring additional industry experience and knowledge to the breadth of the remit of the Commission. Dick also writes a column on a range of energy issues for the Aberdeen Press & Journal “Energy” supplement.