Scotland’s First Minister yesterday argued there should be no new extraction of North Sea oil and gas unless there is a “good reason to do so”.

Humza Yousaf, speaking at the All-Energy conference in Glasgow, said there are “a number of different factors” that need to be taken into account when assessing the future of new fields.

His predecessor Nicola Sturgeon, who stepped down as SNP leader earlier this year, presided over the publication of the Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy, which featured a presumption against further North Sea drilling.

Mr Yousaf stressed that the draft blueprint is just that at this stage, and the consultation on it has just closed, with more than 1,500 responses submitted.

Energy Voice says he also played down claims that the presumption against further drilling is hurting business sentiment in Aberdeen.

The first minister said: “When I was in the North-east and met with oil and gas companies and the sector, they welcomed the approach I am taking, which was to say that nobody wants to see extraction from the North Sea where it doesn’t need to happen.

Factors and criteria

“So what do we need to look at in terms of factors and criteria? We need to look at meeting our climate-change obligations, ensuring energy security domestically and globally, and making sure that we take the workers of the North-east with us on this journey."

Despite Holyrood’s presumption against future drilling, energy remains a matter reserved for Westminster - and a fresh exploration licensing round was launched last year.

Expected to yield north of 100 permits, it is a cornerstone of the UK Government’s effort to boost domestic energy supplies.

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