There was an emergency conference on North Sea oil in Aberdeen on Monday. More than a thousand jobs have been lost since the global oil price collapsed from $110 dollars a barrel to under $50. Two men I met in the lounge car of the Caledonian Sleeper on Sunday evening – strangers to each other – had both held senior positions at major oil companies. They had different axes to grind, but agreed that the North Sea was no longer a profitable option for the major firms, who would pull out altogether before long.
They also dismissed the upcoming summit as a grandstanding exercise. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this. One union rep called it ‘just more talking and no doing’ when I asked if he was going, though the organisers had said it ‘must not be a talking shop’.