The SNP leadership hopeful said she would not support anything that “hamstrings the oil and gas industry making the right progress”. It comes after she warned against throwing oil and gas "to the wind" and spoke of the need to avoid "cliff edges in policy".
Ms Forbes, who is one of three candidates vying for the top job, said she supported the acceleration away from oil and gas, but insisted this had to happen “at the right speed”.
The Scottish Government announced plans to adopt a presumption against new oil and gas exploration earlier this year, as part of its draft energy strategy. Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, previously said the move had been met with “complete disbelief” in the sector.
He said: "While the Scottish Government’s position is largely symbolic, as these matters are reserved to the Westminster Parliament, this is still a breath-taking betrayal of one of Scotland’s biggest industries.”
Speaking to journalists in Inverness, where she was visiting the headquarters of Highland Home Carers, Ms Forbes was asked if she supported the presumption against new oil and gas. She said: "I would support the acceleration away from oil and gas at the right speed. So any moves that jeopardise the jobs and the reinvestment that can be made in renewables is problematic.
"When it comes to that presumption, I think we're all clear that we do need to move away from oil and gas, but the oil and gas industry is clear on that as well. It's the oil and gas industry that is largely reinvesting in renewables and it's those that worked in the oil and gas industry that are now moving into jobs in the renewables industry.
"So that progress needs to happen, but if it's accelerating too quickly then it will jeopardise those jobs. So to summarise, should we be moving away from oil and gas? Yes, but we must do it at a pace that does not undermine the potential reinvestment and the jobs."
Asked again if she supported the presumption, she said: "I wouldn't support anything that hamstrings the oil and gas industry making the right progress, but I do think we should be moving away from oil and gas."
Ms Forbes added: "I think that we should be moving away from oil and gas, but I don't think we should be doing it at the speed that has perhaps been suggested with the presumption."
Asked if she supported new drilling in the North Sea, she said: "I would prefer not to see more drilling, but I also think we need to ensure that we have energy security, and again that we protect those jobs.
"So right now my approach to oil and gas comes down to the families that live up the road that currently can't afford their energy bills in an energy-rich country. Anything that pushes them further into poverty because it reduces the energy security, or access to energy, is not something I could support."