Minister: North Sea oil 'can have a bright future for years'
Economy secretary Keith Brown calls for Westminster support ahead of meeting in Aberdeen.
North Sea oil and gas can have a "bright future for years to come", the economy secretary has said ahead of a meeting with industry figures.
Keith Brown will meet members of industry body Oil and Gas UK and regulator the Oil and Gas Authority along with trade union representatives and executives from companies Nexen and EnQuest on Friday.
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse will also attend the meeting in Aberdeen.
Mr Brown, who was recently appointed to the ministerial role, will say while the Scottish Government is doing everything in its powers to support the sector, the "key economic levers" lie in the hands of Westminster.
Speaking ahead of the visit, he said: "The Scottish Government strongly believes that the North Sea oil and gas sector can have a bright future for years to come.
"Given the considerable challenges faced by industry, this will require a concerted effort by all stakeholders and today's visit will help me to play as strong a role as possible in that process."
He said the Scottish Government had put in place a £24.5m support package, as well as having established the Energy Jobs Taskforce in 2015 and a £12m fund to help workers with retraining.
"We are working to do all that we can within our powers to support the industry," he said.
"The UK Government, however, retains the key economic levers affecting the sector."
Mr Brown said the UK Budget had included a commitment to "consider proposals for using the UK Guarantees Scheme for oil and gas infrastructure where it could help secure new investment in assets of strategic importance".
But he added: "We are yet to see the progress that is crucial in this area. Sustaining critical infrastructure in the North Sea is a key priority and the UK Government must act quickly and decisively to deliver this commitment.
"The oil and gas industry is an important part of the Scottish economy and the downturn has had a significant impact on the industry and its workforce.
"Today's visit, so soon after having been appointed in my new role, demonstrates that both Paul Wheelhouse and I will continue to engage closely with the industry, trade union and regulator to overcome the current challenges and secure a long-term future for the sector."