Scots Sec. In Texas Oil Trip

Scottish Secretary David Mundell will travel to Texas today in a bid to boost support for the struggling North Sea oil sector.

The UK Government minister said he was flying to the US to build links with the country's oil industry.

Mr Mundell will meet senior figures in Houston and Dallas, cities that are the centre of the oil and gas sector and which have seen their economies remain strong despite plunging oil prices

During the talks, involving firms such as Maersk, BP and the Weir Group, he will press the case for investing in Scotland and also seek to find new ways in which Scottish companies could export their expertise in the industry.

The trip comes after Shell announced last week it is axing 475 jobs in Aberdeen and the north-east of Scotland

Mr Mundell said: "As we have seen recently with job losses and now a negative tax balance, the Scottish oil and gas sector faces real challenges.

"The UK Government is determined to do everything it can to support the industry and the many jobs which depend on it.

"My visit to the United States is part of that strategy. I will be meeting oil companies in the Texas oil and gas capitals of Dallas and Houston to encourage ongoing investment into the North Sea.

"The north-east of Scotland also has a huge amount of expertise which can be exported around the world and the US should be a part of its market.

"There are wider lessons for the north-east of Scotland to learn from the American oil and gas industry, and from cities like Dallas and Houston.

"They have successfully diversified their economies and I will be hearing from officials in those cities about the lessons they have learned and we could apply them in Scotland.''

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