UK announces help for struggling North Sea oil industry

LONDON : Britain announced on Thursday a 250 million ($350 dollar) package of funding to boost the oil industry in northeast Scotland, which has been hit hard by slumping prices.

At the same time, Prime Minister David Cameron is to visit the oil city of Aberdeen and meet industry bosses for talks on the current situation.

Global oil prices fell by more than 30 percent in 2015 and have dropped by another 20 percent this year amid increasing production and weaker demand.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for March, the European benchmark for crude oil, is currently at $33.10 a barrel, down from highs of over $100 in 2014.

“Oil and gas is a crucial sector not just for the northeast of Scotland but for the whole of the UK,” Britain’s Scottish Secretary David Mundell said, confirming the move.

“I know it’s a very tough time for people who work in the industry and their families and I am determined the UK government will do what it can to support them.”

The funding is expected to be used to help the oil and gas industry export its expertise globally as well as encouraging economic diversification in northeast Scotland.

It has been committed equally by the government in London and the devolved Scottish administration based in Edinburgh and led by the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP).



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