Scottish oil and gas ignites row between SNP and Tories

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Amidst the UK economic crisis Scotland's oil and gas sector is booming


Scottish news: Scottish oil and gas ignites row between SNP and Tories

by Jamie Mann

Figures released yesterday showed that 224 applications have been submitted for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea – the highest number since offshore licensing began in 1964.

This round of figures have shown an increase in demand with 37 additional applications compared to the previous 187.

The Scottish National Party have welcomed new statistics which have illustrated record demand for drilling ventures in the North Sea, citing the news as evidence that an independent Scotland would reap the benefits.

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Similarly, the Scottish Conservatives were pleased by the figures, but said that Scotland within the Union would be better placed to reap the advantages.
 
SNP MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Maureen Watt 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."

Commenting on the news, Scottish Conservative energy spokeswoman and Highlands and Islands MSP Mary Scanlon said:

“The Conservative-led coalition is working more closely with the industry and made changes within the budget which have provided more stability and certainty in a variety of areas.

“This news shows just how hard the government is working for the people of Scotland, and that as part of the most successful social and economic union in the world Scotland is best placed to thrive.

“Over the past 10 years we have seen decommissioning work taking place in England and Norway, but the UK Government is working to bring some of this work worth £34 billion into Scotland.

“That is very welcome and allows Scotland a fair share of this major industry.”

The increase in demand has has been the latest in a string of good energy investment news this year.

Last month, figures from the Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) revealed that oil and gas exports had risen by 4.5 per cent in 2010 – 2011.

While in March, Edinburgh was confirmed as the UK headquarters of a new Green Investment Bank (GIB), designed to generate environmentally-friendly business ventures.

Scottish independence

Earlier this month a report by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce showed that a majority of companies in the North Sea oil and gas sector do not think the 2014 independence referendum is a major factor in investment in the North Sea Oil industry.

Instead businesses reported serious concerns over the potential instability of the UK’s taxation regime following last year’s unexpected tax increases in the UK budget. The study revealed oil industry operators and contractors had serious fears over the impact of the Westminster's fiscal regime on competitiveness.

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commented 2012-05-25 09:37:07 +0100 · Flag
I agree entirely with your point, Ben, and with your conclusion. The SDA would not argue with them either, in general, although we regard the SNP’s over-emphasis on wind power as seriously misguided from both the economic and the environmental points of view. There are other forms of sustainable energy.

That aside, there is no escaping the conclusion that there is no substitute for constitutional independence and a seat at the United Nations. Having some knowledge of international developments, I see it as the only way in which Scotland’s unique interests can be protected and promoted in a rapidly globalising world. Most protagonists in the current debate have no conception of the dreadful consequences that would follow a No vote in the referendum. We dare not allow that to happen.
commented 2012-05-25 09:15:18 +0100 · Flag
Oil is not just used to fuel vehicles and heating. Just using it for that actually wastes the resource that could be used for much more profitable longer term industry.
SNP have got it right about ramping up the industry and using that to finance renewable energy.
Once renewable energy takes a greater load of our energy use, more oil can go to more profitable value added uses in Scotland and the finite resource will last much longer with consequent continued benefits to Scotland.
Everyone wins with that formula, including the environment.
Greens either have got the concept wrong or are using a simplistic argument about “oil pollutes” “bad” to garner a small number of votes or financial support.
Either way what they are doing is watering down the groundswell of support for and independence yes vote.
The question is simple Do Scots want to govern themselves or do Scots want London to govern them?
Distractions about Oil are counter productive.
commented 2012-05-24 14:33:11 +0100 · Flag
Yes Ed, that was a piece of blatant pseudo-constitutional bluff on the part of Tony Blair and his Labour Government in London. The 1999 order applied only to fisheries, as can be seen from Hansard, but it has been applied as if it covered all aspects of marine legislation, including oil, gas and minerals. A more sleekit piece of pauchling is hard to imagine.

There are twelve major oil wells in the “stolen” sea area, and their revenues are not credited to Scotland in the annual GERS falsification of Scotland’s financial position.

Furthermore, the marine atlas published by the Scottish Government shows the false 1999 fisheries boundary as if it applied for all purposes of marine policy. This is an astonishing cringe on the part of the SNP.

Fact is that the legal border between Scotland and England, from the middle of the Solway Firth to the mouth of the River Tweed, has never been altered in almost eight centuries since it was agreed by the Scottish and English kings in the Treaty of York. The present administrative boundary near Lamberton was introduced only in Victorian times, in the 19th century.

Furthermore, the legal marine border between Scotland and England in the North Sea runs from west to east along a line of latitude until it meets the Netherlands marine border. That has been accepted for centuries, and it was registered with the United Nations in 1968.

The 1999 Order is a mendacious but incompetent piece of pure bluff, and there is no reason for the SNP Government to accept it. In any case, when independence comes, the border will be on the line that existed at the moment of union on 1 May 1707.

The issue is explained very fully in Scotland’s Borders on the SDA website.
commented 2012-05-24 04:58:01 +0100 · Flag
There is also the matter of the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999, which illegally moved Scotland’s North Sea border to the north, thereby transferring some 6,000 square miles of Scottish waters to English jurisdiction. This stolen area MUST be restored to Scottish jurisdiction whether or not Scotland becomes independent. See http://scottishdemocraticalliance.org/international/scotlands-national-borders and download the PDF document.
published this page in News 2012-05-23 19:19:06 +0100