Representatives of Scotland's oil and gas sector are seeking urgent clarity from the incoming Labour government on its intentions amid deep concerns about the impact of a further windfall tax on the sector.

During the election campaign Sir Keir Starmer's party pledged to impose a "proper" windfall tax of 78% on oil and gas profits, and halt the issue of new exploration and production licences. Known formally as the Energy Profits Levy (EPL), the tax was first introduced in 2022 by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as a way of helping households with rising energy bills.

With the 35% EPL surcharge, the overall tax burden on oil and gas producers currently stands at about 75%.

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Ryan Crighton, director of policy and marketing at the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said today that the group will be writing to the new Prime Minister and other key cabinet members next week seeking "early engagement" in a bid to put its members' concerns at ease. The chamber has been a fierce critic of the proposals which also include the establishment of a new state-owned power player, GB Energy, at an as-yet unspecified location in Scotland.

Reports have suggested that anywhere between 20,000 and 100,000 jobs could be at risk if major producers withdraw investment from the North Sea in favour of other locations around the globe. Most of the UK's 200,000 oil and gas jobs - some 84,000 - where based in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as of 2022.

Mark Crouch, analyst at investment platform eToro, said Labour's plans "could spell disaster" for the North Sea.

"The UK's largest independent oil and gas company Harbour Energy perhaps saw the writing on the wall, having since made significant investments diversifying their business away from the UK," he added.

Industry body Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) congratulated Sir Keir this morning on his party’s landslide victory but also reiterated its concerns, adding that "homegrown offshore energy is a jewel in the UK’s industrial crown that government must treasure".

READ MORE: Harbour Energy generates $1bn cash after Aberdeen job cuts

Chief executive David Whitehouse said the new Labour government must follow through on assurances that it will work in partnership with the offshore industry.

“The people in our sector and investors remain deeply concerned over Labour proposals to impose a further windfall tax and end new licences," Mr Whitehouse said. "These policies, if poorly managed, and without industry input will threaten jobs and undermine the decarbonisation of the UK economy. The details matter.

“Labour leadership has recognised that North Sea oil and gas will be with us for decades to come and committed to managing this strategic national asset in a way that does not jeopardise jobs. The transition is estimated to cost £1.4 trillion, the lion’s share of which will need to come from the private sector. Working together, we need to create the conditions to unlock this investment."

Paul Sheerin, chief executive of Scottish Engineering, said it will be a matter of "wait and see" as Labour had appeared to "row back a bit" on its original stance.

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"I would say overall Labour have tried incredibly hard to present themselves as a business-friendly potential future government, so it will be interesting to see where they land," he explained.

"I think the devil is going to be in the detail of that for oil and gas. As they would always say, the key is in the name - it is a transition, it's not switching the taps off, so they will be watching very closely but I don't think we've seen enough detail to know what way that is going to blow yet."

Any shift towards a softer approach will in all likelihood draw fire from green campaigners who say the election result clearly points to the public's desire to bring an end to new oil and gas developments in the North Sea.

"Scottish Labour’s platform of green growth and the transition to clean energy, in particular, delivered huge gains," said Tessa Khan, executive director of Uplift.

"People in Scotland know that the North Sea is in decline – with jobs supported by oil and gas more than halving in the last decade, despite hundreds of licenses being issued in this period – and that clean energy is the only way to deliver a fairer and more secure energy system in the long term."