THE Scottish Secretary has said the Russian invasion of Ukraine has made the case for more North Sea oil and gas fields “unanswerable”.

Alister Jack said Nicola Sturgeon’s opposition to new drilling was “astonishing”, and blamed it on the Scottish Greens being in power. 

The Scottish Government had “a freshly brewed grievance every morning”, he said.

Mr Jack was speaking at the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen, where support for the oil and gas sector has been a running theme.

He said the UK Government had helped invest £90million in the city’s Net Zero Technology Centre, which was studying “how the oil and gas industry can transition to cleaner, greener ways of operating, maximising opportunity and minimising harm”.

He said: “It is right that we do this. 

“Let me add, here in Aberdeen today, it is also right that we consider green-lighting the development of new oil and gas fields. 

“The argument for carefully using our own resources was strong before Putin invaded Ukraine but now it is unanswerable.  

“There must be a future for oil and gas as we transition to net zero. 

“It is astonishing we have a Scottish Government that is opposed to developing our own oil and gas resources.  

“But that’s the price Nicola Sturgeon has paid for putting the Greens into power. 

“Fortunately, oil and gas is the responsibility of the UK Government – so Scotland will not have to pay the price for her misguided move.”

Mr Jack said it was important that the UK and Scottish governments work together improving people’s lives despite their political differences.

He said: “The people of Scotland rightly expect their two governments to work together because they understand it is the best way to unlock the potential of devolution.  

“Now, it is not always easy to work with this SNP-Green Scottish Government. 

“Of course it can be difficult trying to deliver the benefits of devolution alongside a Nationalist administration in Edinburgh that does not believe in devolution.  

“An administration whose politics demand constant friction with the UK Government and a freshly brewed grievance every morning. 

“They may not be able to manufacture a ferry, ladies and gentlemen, but they sure know how to manufacture a grievance. 

“But despite everything, we have some great success stories to talk about which show what can be achieved when we work in partnership.”

He cited the new plan for two freeports in Scotland, backed by £52million from the Treasury, one of which could come to Aberdeen if it made a successful bid.

Although the SNP have reluctantly backed the low-tax enterprise zones, the Greens oppose them as a wasteful “corporate giveaway”.

Mr Jack said: “It just shows how irresponsible it was for the SNP to invite into government a party that is fundamentally opposed to economic growth.  

Even some people in the SNP are beginning to realise what a disastrous mistake that was.”

The Dumfries & Galloway MP also said the UK had committed over £1.5bn to a dozen separate city deals covering the whole of Scotland.  

He said: “I’m determined we go further. In the months ahead we’ll seek to work with the Scottish Government to realise the vision set out in Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review for a strategic transport network covering the whole country. 

“Among the recommendations I’m determined to deliver on are the long overdue upgrades of the A75, the A77, and the A1. 

“Up to now Scottish Government ministers have refused to engage with the review, arguing the UK Government should take no interest in transport in Scotland.  

“But I’m confident that as we continue to make the case and as pressure grows from the business community we can, and will, make progress.  

“What does Scotland need more?  Another SNP ‘power grab’ moan? Or a proper trunk roads? I think you know the answer to that one.”

Mr Jack also suffered an embarrassing slip of the tongue while speaking about the war in Ukraine, when he boasted the UK was “one of the biggest aid donors to Russia”.

He then hastily corrected himself and said “one of the biggest aid donors to Ukraine”. 

SNP Scotland Office spokesperson Mhairi Black MP said: “It’s hard to tell if the Scottish Conservatives have gathered for their Spring Conference or a bad comedy show because some of the stuff coming out in these speeches are surely jokes. 

“Alister Jack talks of working together yet at every turn his government has attempted to grab power from Holyrood and undermine positive policies in Scotland, such as the Scottish Child Payment. All of this while the Scottish Government continues to mitigate damaging Westminster policies to the tune of almost £600 million.”