Fourth energy minister in two years

Matthew Hancock has been named as Britain's fourth new energy minister in less than two years as part of a major reshuffle in the UK's coalition government cabinet.

It is Prime Minister David Cameron's biggest government shake-up since coming to power in 2010, making changes aimed at boosting the popularity of the Conservatives ahead of a general election next year.

Oil and gas industry body Oil & Gas UK welcomed Hancock in his new role but warned that the shuffle comes at a critical time for the offshore oil and gas industry, with the Department for Energy and Climate Change currently engaged on the "urgently needed" implementation of the Wood Report and the Treasury in a major and equally needed Fiscal Review.

Read more: North Sea tax review welcomed

Hancock has served as a member of parliament for West Suffolk since 2010 and previously worked as an economist at the Bank of England and as an adviser to Chancellor George Osborne.

Former energy minister Michael Fallon, who was a supporter of moves to try to exploit Britain's shale gas resources, has become defence secretary.

"Oil & Gas UK calls on the government to maintain its focus on the oil and gas industry through continued collaboration. The sector is a vital component of the UK economy not only because it is the largest industrial investor and corporate tax payer but also for its contribution to our energy security and the 450,000 jobs which its world leading supply chain provides throughout the country," said Oil & Gas UK. 

Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive Malcolm Webb said: “We congratulate Matthew Hancock on his appointment. We expect the new Minister to immerse himself in the industry quickly and get fully up to speed with his new brief and will be offering him an early meeting in order to support this.

“However, today (15 July) marks the appointment of the fourth Energy Minister in less than two years and Nicky Morgan’s promotion means that we will also have the fifth Treasury Minister with responsibility for oil and gas in less than three years. This change in Government leadership comes at a critical time for our industry and must be managed to result in the least disruption to the conduct of policy initiatives now in train.”

Oil & Gas UK is awaiting official Treasury confirmation of the Minister who will take on the HM Treasury responsibility for the oil and gas brief. The trade association looks forward to working with the incoming Minister on the current fiscal review, which is so vital to the future of the industry.


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