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UK Energy Minister: Sense Of Optimism In UK Oil, Gas Industry

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

SEPTEMBER 8, 2009, 2:12 P.M. ET

ABERDEEN, Scotland (Dow Jones)–U.K. Energy Minister Lord Hunt Tuesday said Tuesday there’s a definite sense of optimism in the U.K. oil and gas sector, even as reports of expected job layoffs surface.

“Any loss of jobs is to be regretted,” Hunt said, when asked about rumors that Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) is set to accelerate its restructuring plans and make a number of staff redundant. It is thought the cuts would affect Shell’s upstream business.

“Clearly I’m always concerned in the numbers of jobs available in whatever sector of the economy. But we’re talking about beginning to see some encouraging signs in the economy and I believe the actions we’ve taken” are having a positive impact, Hunt told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of Offshore Europe in Aberdeen.

“I sense a definite feel of optimism. There’s a lot of oil and gas in the North Sea still to be exploited. I’m confident we’ll see continued interest in the sector,” he added.

Hunt said he has discussed with industry efforts to drive efficiencies. “We clearly want the industry to be as efficient as can be,” he noted.

“We know the issues facing the industry, including taxation, a stable regulatory regime, flexibility to respond to changing circumstances and we’re listening to the industry and enabling dialogue with the government,” Hunt said.

He said the U.K. government is doing everything it can to exploit the resources in the U.K. North Sea to create the right framework, adding: “We need the industry to invest.”

– By Elizabeth Adams, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0) 7789 070 028; [email protected]

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