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Written Question
Offshore Industry: Licensing
Monday 29th January 2024

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the time taken by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning to deliver permits for energy production projects.

Answered by Graham Stuart - Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

The UK has a comprehensive legal framework for development proposals for offshore oil and gas fields under existing licences. All activities that may impact the environment are subject to rigorous assessment as part of the environmental application process.

Regulatory decisions by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning are made within the timeline set out in the relevant regulations. For new developments, the time taken to reach a decision depends on the complexity and nature of the project. The time taken to reach those decisions are regularly monitored and reviewed as necessary.


Written Question
Offshore Industry: Carbon Capture and Storage
Friday 26th January 2024

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps she is taking to encourage (a) investment in and (b) development of the connection between offshore oil and gas and carbon capture, usage and storage technologies.

Answered by Andrew Bowie - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

The skills and investment of the oil and gas sector will drive our energy transition.

A government-funded report looking at the CCUS supply chain found that oil and gas supply chain companies are in prime position to win work in carbon capture and storage.

Government is also making it easier for workers to move between different energy sectors, ensuring that their skills can be tapped into to support the transition.

The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill introduced last year will support ongoing investment, protect the 200,000 jobs supported by oil and gas, and support the wider energy transition including CCUS development.


Written Question
Natural Gas: Imports
Friday 26th January 2024

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what proportion of gas used in the UK is domestically produced; if he will provide a breakdown of non-domestically produced gas used in the UK; and what steps she is taking to help reduce reliance on imported gas products.

Answered by Graham Stuart - Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

Indigenous production of gas has been equivalent to around half of UK demand for over a decade (DUKES Chapter 4). Gas imports by origin are published in Energy Trends table 4.4.

The UK has a secure and diverse energy system and does not rely on any one source of supply. The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill is designed to give industry certainty as to the future of licensing rounds, which will enhance the UK’s energy security and reduce its reliance on imported gas.


Written Question
Offshore Industry: Carbon Capture and Storage
Friday 26th January 2024

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps she is taking to encourage (a) investment in and (b) development of the connection between onshore oil and gas and carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) technologies.

Answered by Andrew Bowie - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

The skills and investment of the oil and gas sector will drive our energy transition.

A government-funded report looking at the CCUS supply chain found that oil and gas supply chain companies are in prime position to win work in carbon capture and storage.

Government is also making it easier for workers to move between different energy sectors, ensuring that their skills can be tapped into to support the transition.

The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill introduced last year will support ongoing investment, protect the 200,000 jobs supported by oil and gas, and support the wider energy transition including CCUS development.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Visas
Monday 15th January 2024

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions his Department had with the (a) fishing, (b) hospitality, (c) agricultural and (d) health and social care sector before announcing the proposed increase in minimum income threshold for overseas workers.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The Government engages regularly with business sectors, including through a number of its advisory groups when developing its policies and will continue to strike the balance between reducing overall net migration and ensuring that businesses have the skills they need to support economic growth.


Written Question

Question Link

Wednesday 29th November 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 November 2023 to Question 1756 on Seed Potatoes: Exports, if he will publish the conclusions of his meetings at the third TCA Trade Specialised Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures on 11 October 2023.

Answered by Mark Spencer - Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The minutes of the third TCA Trade Specialised Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures will be published in due course on Gov.uk.


Written Question
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership: Dispute Resolution
Wednesday 29th November 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential impact of the investor-state dispute settlement within CPTPP on the water utilities sector.

Answered by Greg Hands - Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership investment chapter includes investment protections that are backed by a modern and transparent investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. These provisions play an important role in protecting UK investors abroad and levelling the playing field. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership also protects states’ right to regulate proportionately, fairly and in the public interest, including in relation to the UK’s water industry.

The UK already has investment agreements containing investment protections and Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions with over 90 trading partners and there has never been a successful Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions claim brought against the UK.


Written Question
Audit: Reform
Wednesday 29th November 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 7 November 2023 to Question 218 on Audit: Reform, what estimate she has made of the potential cost to the public purse of her Department's work on legislative proposals on reform of audit and corporate governance since the publication of the Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance white paper, CP382.

Answered by Kevin Hollinrake - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)

The Department does not have an estimate of the cost of the Department’s work on reform of audit and corporate governance. Information on internal costs is not broken down in this way.


Written Question
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership: Dispute Resolution
Wednesday 29th November 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the letter from civil society organisations to the Prime Minister entitled, excluding investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as a condition of UK accession to the CPTPP, published 23 October 2023; and if she will take steps to negotiate a side-letter with the CPTPP that removes access to ISDS provisions for UK investors.

Answered by Greg Hands - Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is a comprehensive agreement that provides investors with investor protection provisions that seek to guarantee the treatment they can expect to receive when accessing and operating in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership markets.

The agreement contains a modern, transparent investor-state dispute settlement mechanism for investors to seek independent legal redress should they not receive this treatment.

These provisions play an important role in protecting UK investors abroad and levelling the playing field. At the same time, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership protects states’ right to regulate proportionately, fairly and in the public interest.


Written Question
Audit: Reform
Wednesday 29th November 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what is her Department's planned timescale on introducing the draft Audit Reform Bill.

Answered by Kevin Hollinrake - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)

The Government has not set out a timescale for introducing legislation relating to audit reform. The Government is committed to legislating when Parliamentary time allows.