Demand for oil and gas shows extent of Scotland’s wealth

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By a Newsnet reporter

Despite claims that Scottish production is on the decline, a record number of companies are now seeking to explore and develop oil and gas deposits in the North Sea. 

The latest licensing round for oil and gas drilling has seen a total of 224 applications submitted – the largest number since offshore licensing began in 1964.

By a Newsnet reporter

Despite claims that Scottish production is on the decline, a record number of companies are now seeking to explore and develop oil and gas deposits in the North Sea. 

The latest licensing round for oil and gas drilling has seen a total of 224 applications submitted – the largest number since offshore licensing began in 1964.

The new round of oil and gas production will generate £billions in revenues for the UK government.  The oil and gas sector still provides almost half of the UK’s energy and is by far the largest single industrial UK investor.  Directly and indirectly the industry supports around 450,000 jobs across the UK. 

Approximately 90% of oil and gas production comes from fields located within Scottish waters, and it is estimated that untapped resources remaining in the North Sea and the waters off the north west of Scotland are worth around a trillion pounds.

The SNP have welcomed the figures, saying that they provide further evidence for the need for independence in order to give Scots control over the country’s resources.

Scotland remains the only oil producing and self-governing nation or territory in the world which receives no direct income from its own natural resources.  All revenues from oil and gas fields in the North Sea and the North Atlantic are deemed by the UK government to be “ex-regio” and go directly to the Treasury in Westminster.

SNP MSP Maureen Watt explained how this – following on from a report by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce that shows the majority of companies do not think the 2014 referendum is a factor in investment in the North Sea Oil industry – is further compelling evidence that Scotland will be a wealthier nation post-independence.

Ms Watt, SNP MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, said:

“Scotland has a trillion pound North Sea asset base – with some 40 per cent of reserves remaining and over half of the value still to be extracted. ‪

“The demand absolutely underlines the need for Scotland to gain responsibility over our own resources with independence, for the long-term benefit of the country.‪ ‪

“Oil and gas will continue to provide a very significant number of direct and indirect jobs for a very long time to come.‪‪

“With responsibility for our own vast natural resources, an independent Scotland will be able to make the most of these massive revenues, including an oil fund for future generations, while continuing to support investment in one of the nation’s most important industries.

“The Chancellor’s U-turn on the damage he previously did with his tax grab – by bringing in the measures we had been calling for in his budget in April – is a clear vindication of the SNP’s on-going campaign for a better deal for the North Sea oil industry and jobs.”

The oil and gas licence figures were revealed on the day that a leading oil industry expert hailed plans for an offshore windfarm near Aberdeen. 

Prof Alex Kemp said the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre had the potential to make Scotland “leaders in offshore wind”.

The centre is a ground breaking new facility which will enable the accelerated development of offshore wind power in Scotland, the UK and Europe.