A north-east MP has claimed there is too much “scaremongering” over Brexit after oil and gas leaders warned that North Sea platforms could be shut down.
Brexit-backing Ross Thomson insisted last night that quitting the EU without a deal would “really not be the end of the world”.
He was speaking after trade body Oil and Gas UK’s 2018 economic report warned that plans to leave the EU could cause a “skills shortage” for vital North Sea services such as Emergency Response and Rescue Vehicles (ERRVs).
It also highlighted implications for movement of critical equipment and for growing the UK’s share of the global oilfield services market.
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Without standby ERRVs, “platforms would have to shut down operations and production”, according to the report, which said the emergency vessels may not be able to operate if there are issues with recruiting engineers from in or outside the UK.
The SNP’s Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin said: “These grave warnings of Brexit-fuelled worker shortages shutting down production in the north sea reinforce the urgent need for the Scottish Government to be represented in Brexit negotiations in order to safeguard Scotland’s interests.”
But Mr Thomson, Scottish Conservative MP for Aberdeen South, played down the consequences.
“We all want to see a positive Brexit deal struck with the EU and both sides are working towards that outcome,” he said.
“It is not in anyone’s interest for the negotiations to fail.
“However, there has been far too much scaremongering about what a ‘no deal’ outcome would look like. It really would not be the end of the world.
“The United States, China, Australia and Singapore all manage to trade successfully with the EU under WTO rules. Are we seriously to believe that the UK could not do the same?”