Phil Saxton, General Manager of Dräger Marine and Offshore, said that in light of the low oil prices, he fully supports the idea of a task force working with Aberdeen businesses.

Chaired by Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive Lena Wilson, the task force will report to the Scottish Energy Advisory Board and focus on supporting jobs across the energy sector, with initial emphasis on oil and gas.

Saxton said, “The energy industry is crucial to the Scottish economy. I’m hopeful that the new Scottish Government task force will work to help maintain posts across the oil and gas industry and mitigate the impact of redundancies. I’m keen to see how this develops.” 

He added that he is particularly interested in finding out about the longevity of the First Minister’s plans.

“While the oil price is low at the moment, it won’t stay low forever, and the important thing is that the task force itself isn’t a temporary solution for the next six to 12 months, but that it is something that actually secures the long-term future of Aberdeen-based businesses,” Saxton stated, adding it is also vital that the task force looks at the wider supply chain.

He continued, “The oil and gas industry is a major success story for Scotland, but it’s important that the task force doesn’t just support the oil companies, but looks at the bigger picture. After all, Aberdeen supports almost 2,000 supply chain businesses, so it’s therefore vital that the taskforce supports that broader supply chain too.”

The First Minister has guaranteed that any Modern Apprentice (Mas) in Scotland’s oil and gas sector faced with redundancy will be offered alternative employment or off the job training, pending alternative employment.

“It’s very important to develop the skills of young people who are coming into the oil and gas sector, but it’s also vitally important that those coming into the industry are multi-skilled, competent and fully trained in technological safety,” said Saxton.

As a leading provider of safety solutions in the oil and gas sector, Dräger is all too aware of the importance of safeguarding workers and the public.

“When the oil companies are trying to do all they can to reduce operating costs, there will always remain an absolute focus for them on safety – it’s a topic on which there will never be a compromise,” added Saxton. “Safety remains a number one priority no matter what – so the importance of having a whole range of integrated maintenance and training support services cannot be underestimated.”

The First Minister is due to attend businesses in Aberdeen in February to discuss what can be done over the coming months in light of the current climate.