Thursday, 08 November 2018 07:38

CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM OVER NORTH SEA FUTURE

SNP CALLS FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT AND WISE INVESTMENT OF REVENUES
 
A new report by the Oil and Gas Authority estimates overall recoverable reserves and resources of up to 20 billion barrels of oil from the North Sea – demonstrating huge cause for optimism in one of Scotland’s most important industries.
 

However, the body warns that significant investment will be required in developing new fields to realise this untapped potential. This follows the UK government’s budget last week where the Chancellor failed to set out a single measure to boost exploration and drilling activity – despite demands from the SNP.
 
The UK Treasury has long treated the North Sea as a cash cow, siphoning off billions in revenues over the past 50 years – amounting to around £600,000 per head of population per head of population in the North East of Scotland, with little reinvestment by Westminster. A report published by the IPPR in April showed that had revenues from Scotland’s oil and gas industry been invested in a Norway-style sovereign wealth fund in the 1980s, that fund would be worth over £500 billion today.
 
The SNP’s Growth Commission recommended that future income generated should be treated as a windfall and invested in a fund for future generations.
 
In light of these latest estimates, the SNP is renewing calls for the devolution of oil and gas revenues so Holyrood to help grow Scotland’s economy, create jobs and invest in the future.
 
Maureen Watt MSP, who previously worked in the industry and co-convenes Holyrood’s cross-party group on oil and gas, said:
 
“This is extremely encouraging news for the North Sea oil and gas sector – an industry which has a bright future and is clearly on the up after a tough couple of years.
 
“With people now returning to work, it’s important we support those jobs over the long term and maximise the potential gain from these remaining reserves.
 
“That’s why it was so absolutely astounding – with drilling activity this year at a 40-year low – that there was nothing in last week’s Budget to support new exploration and development. We’re at a crucial juncture, and the Tories sat on their hands. This report by the UK government’s own Oil and Gas Authority sees the need for investment, but not the Chancellor himself.
 
“Over the past decades successive UK governments have squandered billions in North Sea revenues, with little reinvested in Scotland’s economy.
 
“We shouldn’t make those same mistakes again. It’s high time that we took control of oil and gas revenues here in Scotland – allowing us to use these more wisely to grow our economy, create jobs, realise our potential and build for the future.”
 

“Enough UK oil reserves for at least 20 years of production” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-46137555
 
North Sea oil wealth fund would be worth over £500 billion
https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/north-sea-oil-wealth-fund-would-be-worth-over-500-billion-1-4718376
 

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