The implications and effects of the nation’s decision to leave the European Union will take some time to unravel, and for the UK’s negotiations over ’Brexit’ to begin.
At this stage, attempting to predict a future relationship model among the five or so potential ones generally being presented by political and economic commentators is fraught. Options range from effectively staying as we are now, but without us being EU members, to full withdrawal under a World Trade Organisation framework.
Whatever the eventual outcome, the regulations that impact our downstream oil sector and how they are made will be significantly different from the current largely EU-generated policy development route. Here we must be wary.
Those who champion the view that the UK is about to set aside layers of red tape and EU-imposed environmental, health, safety and employment regulations may be disappointed.
Our UK policy makers are more than capable of mirroring EU developments and, free of the restraints imposed by regulation requiring 28 member states to agree, could well go faster and higher than our continental cousins.
Adding to the lack of certainty, as we perform the day job of supplying 45 billion litres of road transport fuels to the motoring public, the Cabinet reshuffle heralded by our new Prime Minister Theresa May sees the dismantling of one key government department DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change ).
There is also significant change to two others: Business Innovation and Skills becomes Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, which now will include the energy and the climate change parts of DECC, but loses skills to the Department of Education; and the creation of two more the Department for Exiting the EU and another for promoting International Trade ensuring the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to us.
You can’t help but wonder if, during all this upheaval, the focus will be internal rather than on the many issues our industry faces.
One thing is for sure nothing is for sure! So fasten your seatbelts and brace yourselves for a very different future.