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Oil exploration – risk and reward

The oil industry is still important to Scotland but that is all the more reason for absolute transparency about what are the real risks involved.

The situation at Total Elgin is deeply worrying, which is why we need absolute transparency from the UK Government and Total UK for all the relevant information to be in the public domain. This should not just include details on the level of risk, but also how this is calculated.

It is encouraging to hear environmental risks are minimal and that the Scottish Government will continually review the situation. Total must be praised for the swift action taken to get staff off the platform and to safety.

The development and long-term future of the oil and gas sector is of huge importance to Scotland, which is why it is encouraging the Scottish Government is committed to this and to maximizing recovery rates from existing fields.

New opportunities still exist in the sector, which currently supports around 200,000 jobs in Scotland. Any gas leak on an evacuated offshore installation is deeply worrying but I am reassured production and exploration have been carried out with due regard to the highest environmental and safety standards.

Malcolm Balfour