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New UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said he was open to ideas for encouraging more exploration drilling in the North Sea, on a visit to Aberdeen yesterday.

Mr Huhne met oil and gas bosses in the city and visited the annual All-Energy Show.

He said he was committed to maximising the potential of the UK oil and gas industry, and wanted to see Aberdeen continue to develop as a worldwide centre of quality and expertise.

The pledge follows concerns earlier this year after it emerged there had been a fall in the total number of UK wells drilled in 2009.

Liberal Democrat Mr Huhne said it was too early to say what actually could be done to increase offshore work in this area, but insisted: “I am open to ideas for encouraging more exploration drilling.”

He said renewables would be tremendously important for Britain’s energy security, but the North Sea would continue to be a very important resource for oil and gas for many years to come.

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