Ian Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - The committee's rejection of calls for a moratorium on deep-sea oil and gas exploration was welcomed in the north-east of Scotland. The spectre of such a ban first emerged in the aftermath of last year's disaster in the Gulf of Mexico; I hope that an overwhelming majority of MEPs will agree that such a move would be a 'disproportionate reaction'. None of this is to say that MEPs – or people in the north-east of Scotland – should not take safety matters seriously. This summer's leak from Shell's Gannet installation shows that accidents can happen and that complacency is not an option. As well as oil, the North Sea provides thousands of jobs in the fishing and tourism sectors – sectors which are heavily dependent upon a clean environment. Scotland's oil industry remains a vital industry – not solely in terms of Scottish jobs but in terms of European energy security too. An estimated 40% of oil and gas reserves remain to be extracted and the North Sea sector has a good few decades to go – if policy makers allow it to thrive. Political control of the resource must remain at national level.

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