North sea oil firms warned of serious organised crime threat from gangs as prices fall

 
Jessica Morris
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Oil prices have fallen around 70 per cent since June 2014 (Source: Getty)

The embattled North Sea oil sector has been warned it's being targeted by gangs of organised criminals, as firms there cut costs in the face of tumbling oil prices.

Police are approaching big companies on concerns that gangsters could try to undercut legitimate businesses which provide waste or security services.

Oil prices have fallen from a high of over $100 per barrel in June 2014 to around $35 today. This has forced North Sea oil companies to reign in their spending, scale back exploration and make job cuts.

"An initial approach has been made to Oil and Gas UK to discuss potential threats to the energy industry from serious organised crime," Chief Constable Phil Gormley said in an official report.

Chief Inspector Kevin Wallace, of Police Scotland's North East division, clarified that the industry was being advised about gangland contractors.

"Serious organised crime targets legitimate businesses across a wide variety of industries, which impacts on communities throughout Scotland," he told the Herald Scotland.

Dr Alix Thom, industry body Oil & Gas UK’s employment and skills issues manager, added:

"Oil & Gas UK are in regular communication with Police Scotland via the Energy Industry Liaison Unit and our Security Committee. Serious Organised Crime is one of the issues which is discussed from time to time."

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