Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey is visiting Aberdeen today (January 16) for talks with oil and gas industry leaders against a backdrop of the recent dramatic slide in world oil prices.

The minister is announcing that he is asking Andy Samuel, CEO designate of the Oil and Gas Authority, to lead an urgent commission, working with the industry, to identify key risks to oil and gas production in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), and identify what further measures might be taken by government and industry to mitigate them. The minister said the move was in the light of the recent dramatic falls in global oil prices.

He said: “The oil and gas industry is used to volatile prices in world markets and will get through the latest downturn as it has in the past. However, given the huge value of the UKCS to the nation and the relatively high cost base that it has, I am concerned to make sure that it does so in the best possible shape for the future and well placed to deliver our goal of maximising economic recovery as set out by Sir Ian Wood.

“I am therefore today asking Andy Samuel, CEO of the new Oil and Gas Authority, to undertake an urgent piece of work, involving industry, to come up with practical measures to mitigate the immediate risks that the downturn in prices presents us with. There is a lot at stake and I know that industry leaders will lend weight to the work that I have asked Andy to do.

“I have asked Andy to present his early findings to me by the end of February.”