LABOUR have been accused of “sabotaging” Scotland’s energy future after Keir Starmer said the party would block any new oil and gas developments.

Former first minister Alex Salmond dubbed the Labour leader “the North Sea job destroyer” and said every future development should be given consent - but only if it has carbon capture plans in place.

The Alba Party leader said that neither a Labour or Tory government would commit to including carbon capture proposals, and Scotland needs independence to have “control of our own resources”.

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It comes as the Scottish Tories demanded Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar “clarify” his party’s stance on new investment in the oil and gas sector.

According to the Sunday Times, Starmer is on the verge of announcing a block to any new fossil fuel projects when he sets out his net zero policy in Scotland next month.

As part of the energy plans, the newspaper reported a Starmer-run government would only borrow to invest in green enterprises, and that Labour expects its plans to create up to half a million jobs in the renewables industry, including 50,000 in Scotland.

A Labour source told the Sunday Times: “We are against the granting of new licences for oil and gas in the North Sea.

“They will do nothing to cut bills, as the Tories have acknowledged.

“They undermine our energy security and would drive a coach and horse through our climate targets.

“But Labour would continue to use existing oil and gas wells over the coming decades and manage them sustainably as we transform the UK into a clean energy superpower.”

However, the plans prompted accusations of “sabotage” from Salmond, who released a statement on social media.

“The last Labour government sabotaged the past Miller project in 2007 depriving Scotland of an early move into both carbon capture and the hydrogen economy,” the former first minister wrote.

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“Now Keir Starmer wants to sabotage the future by a blanket ban on North Sea development.

The way to develop the resource compatible with the planet is to make every development consent contingent on a full carbon capture proposal.

“Despite the prospect of an £80 billion oil taxation windfall used as a bail-out of the UK finances, no London Government, Labour or Tory, will commit to this which is why we need independence and control of our own resources.

“Unfortunately, the SNP/Green position is to speculate on the terms of putting Sir Keir Starmer, the North Sea job destroyer, into power.”

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during a visit to the High Street in Kirkcaldy, Fife. Picture date: Thursday May 25, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Starmer. Photo credit should read: Euan Cherry/PA Wire

The SNP have long been calling for the Acorn Project, a Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) facility in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, to be brought online as soon as possible.

Current UK Government policy is to have 4 CCUS sites in service by the mid-2020s, Track 1, with a further two to be delivered later, Track 2.

The Scottish cluster of projects, including the Acorn site in the North East of Scotland were put on the reserve Track 2 list.

It comes as Scottish Tory MSP Liam Kerr described Labour’s approach to the North Sea as “nothing short of a gut punch to the industry” and the thousands of Scots who work in it.

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Kerr, the Tories' net-zero spokesperson, wrote to Sarwar on Monday morning and demanded that he “set the record straight”.

He said: “Does Scottish Labour policy represent a just transition, or do they now just want to bin our oil and gas sector?

“As if the ideological stance from the SNP and Greens wasn’t bad enough, along come Labour to further demonise the people who help keep the lights on.

“Keir Starmer’s plan would drop any notion of energy security and make us dependent on oil and gas from overseas. That would cause higher emissions and ramp up energy costs to consumers.

“The onus is on Anas Sarwar to urgently clarify whether he backs his UK leader’s plans or will distance himself from them.”

In its draft energy strategy published in January, the Scottish Government said there “should be a presumption against new exploration for oil and gas”, as it proposed making the “fastest possible just transition”.

But Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has backed new oil and gas exploration, and energy licences are under Westminster’s control.

Anas Sarwar’s party said Labour would continue to use existing oil wells “sensibly”.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “The skills and expertise of Scotland’s energy workforce will be key to a successful energy transition.

“We are clear that meeting our climate targets will go hand in hand with protecting and creating jobs in our energy sector.

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“Labour will not impose a cliff edge end to oil and gas production while we transform the UK into a clean energy superpower – existing licences will continue and using existing wells sensibly is baked into our plans.

“Labour is committed to a just transition that works for all of our communities – lowering bills for good and creating tens of thousands of skilled, long-term jobs in Scotland and across the UK.”

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has recently held a licensing round for oil and gas exploration projects which attracted more than 100 bids.

Two oil fields, Cambo and Jackdaw, have been given licences. Rosebank, capable of producing up to 500 million barrels of oil, is expected to be signed off in the coming weeks.