North East MSP Mike Rumbles has today pressed the Scottish Government to offer assurances to residents and workers affected by the closure of the Forties pipeline in Aberdeenshire.
On Monday it was revealed that the pipeline will be shut down while hairline fractures are addressed and today Mr Rumbles' urgent question was selected for the government to respond to. Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse told the chamber that he believed the issue would be resolved in days.
Speaking outside the chamber, Mr Rumbles said:
"We are now being told that this shutdown could take weeks rather than days.
"People working in the North East are already worried that the shutting down of the Forties pipeline will cause significant issues for the area financially, operationally and commercially.
"Meanwhile local residents are looking for reassurances from Ministers that there are no further, as yet undetected, fractures. It is important that they are told if further works are in the pipeline.
"The Forties route is a critical part of the UK’s energy infrastructure and we have seen that it has the power to shift oil prices. The Scottish Government must engage in a close dialogue with companies operating across the North East and the North Sea to support all workers affected by the temporary closure and make contingency plans for what will need to happen if this pipeline cannot reopen for some time."