Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross will accuse the SNP and Greens of wanting to “dismantle” the north-east economy in a speech to party members in Aberdeenshire this weekend.
Around 100 people will attend a mini conference for the party’s north-east politicians and members at the Holiday Inn in Westhill on Saturday.
The full-day event will include a speech from Mr Ross in which he will take aim at political opponents over their stance on future oil and gas production.
It comes just days after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced he will create annual oil and gas licensing rounds, written into legislation, to boost production.
‘Dismantle north-east economy’
In his speech, Mr Ross is expected to accuse the SNP and Greens of being “determined to shut down Scotland’s essential North Sea oil and gas sector – an action that is fully supported by Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar”.
He will also accuse First Minister Humza Yousaf and his Green coalition partners of being “determined to dismantle the north-east economy”.
The Scottish Tory leader will claim: “Just think of that, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the Greens want to close down an industry that supports tens of thousands of Scottish jobs.
“The oil and gas sector is the lifeblood of so many communities and supports our energy security during a time when high household bills remain high.
“That would be a reckless and illogical act of self-harm. Their anti-north-east project would devastate this part of our country.”
New oil and gas licences
The future of North Sea oil and gas production is likely to become a major dividing line between Labour and the Tories in the next general election campaign.
Mr Sunak told the P&J on Monday that there will be opposition to his plan for annual licensing rounds to maximise oil and gas.
But the UK Government thinks the move will help secure 200,000 jobs and billions in tax receipts.
But Maggie Chapman, Green North East MSP, earlier this week described the move as a “disaster for the north-east”.
She added: “We know we need to move away from oil and gas. We know that the climate emergency is happening right now.
“All this will do is repeat the same thing that we’ve been doing for the last 50 years.”
In response to Mr Ross, a spokesman for the Greens, said he “thinks denying reality is a path to power”.
He added: “He denies the climate crisis that just a few weeks ago swept through the north east, causing deaths and devastating homes and businesses.”
What have the others parties said?
Speaking to the P&J ahead of SNP conference in Aberdeen last month, Mr Yousaf said he wants the region to lead the way in the transition towards greener energy.
He said: “I think Scotland, the north-east in particular, can be the global blueprint of how you do the just transition”, he said.
But under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership the party made a dramatic shift away from continued drilling in the North Sea.
Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer faced a backlash in June by announcing the party’s energy strategy in Edinburgh.
The Labour leader has been challenged to end speculation and announce Aberdeen as the base for his planned publicly-owned energy company, GB Energy.
Russell Borthwick, chief of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, previously said it would show Sir Keir has “got the industry’s back”.