10 facts about Scotland’s oil and independence

| 17/10/2013 | 65 Comments

Scotland's oil invested in the future?Amongst all the political spin and manoeuvring, sometimes ordinary business people struggle to establish the facts about an independent Scotland. Business for Scotland want to get straight to the heart of the important questions concerning next year’s referendum.

Scotland’s North Sea oil and gas has been a hotly debated asset since its discovery in the 1970s. The Yes camp points out that years of massive surpluses in the Scottish budget coincided with deindustrialisation and low investment in Scotland’s economy just when we needed investment and jobs most. The No camp claims that the oil is always just about to run out.

However, just as oil and gas revenues are one part of the argument that Scotland would be a prosperous independent country, they are not the whole story. Even without oil and gas, Scotland’s robust economy’s performance would be no worse off than the UK per head of population, which is why the Scottish Government can claim with credibility that oil is a bonus not the basis of our economy. But what are the other facts and figures on the past present and future of oil and gas that people need to know?

Here are 10 facts and all their sources underlining the simple truth about North Sea oil, compiled from government sources, companies, academics and oil industry experts, which we hope you find interesting and enlightening.

Fact 1) There are at least 15-24 billion barrels of oil remaining.

According to the UK Oil & Gas 2013 Economic Report, there are substantial volumes of North Sea oil and gas remaining. (page 7) Current programs have already identitied 11.4 billion barrels. (7.4 billion from existing projects and 4 billion in new fields)

Fact 2) The remaining reserves are worth over £1 trillion.

According to government valuations – based upon current and projected markets – this oil has a total wholesale value of at least £1.5 trillion. This is influenced by soaring global demand for energy. The UK government predicts a 28% rise in demand by 2035.(page 24)

Fact 3) North Sea oil and gas will last for decades and decades into the second half of this century.

Despite the scare stories, there are decades worth of North Sea oil available for extraction. The UK government concedes that oil has a future “well beyond 2055” (section 5) in their recent report on the fields. This is a conservative estimation compared to that of Dr Richard Pike, a former oil industry consultant, who predicts a future 100 years of North Sea oil.

Fact 4) More than 90% of the tax revenue will belong to an independent Scotland

According to Dr Alex Kemp of the University of Aberdeen, over 90% of total tax revenue from oil and gas is generated in Scottish waters. This is ensured by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The ‘medium line’, used when oil was discovered in the 1960s and in 1999 when considering fish stocks, would also place the vast majority of reserves in Scottish waters so at least 90% of the oil being Scottish is an accepted fact and when official Government figures allot North Sea revenues to the Scottish accounts they do so on this basis.

Fact 5) Scotland can establish a successful oil investment fund.

The Fiscal Commission Working Group, including several acclaimed international economists and Nobel Prize winning Economists, has recommended that an independent Scotland establish an oil fund. This fund will ensure that the proceeds of oil and gas can be invested in long-term projects to improve Scotland’s economic position. As previously explained by Business for Scotland, this may be preferable to immediately using the revenue to pay down debt or increase spending, especially as Scotland is expected to return to surplus in the years immediately following independence. Norway – which now has a colossal £460 billion in its oil fund – is enjoying a 14% return on its investments. In contrast, debt only accrues at approximately 3% interest payment.

Fact 6) Westminster squandered the oil and gas revenues.

Repeated UK governments wasted the vast revenues from North Sea oil and gas. Both Labour and Conservative governments at Westminster failed to establish an oil fund. Former Chancellors Denis Healey and Alistair Darling both concede this was a grave mistake. Short-sightedness and poor fiscal planning meant that billions of pounds of bonus revenue subsidised the rest of the UK’s deficits in the early 1980s.

Fact 7) The price of oil is likely to increase.

Due to increased demand and a reduction in relative supply, the price of oil is likely to increase. The vast expansion in the global economy has seen the price of oil increase from around $10 per barrel in the 90’s to an average of $112 per barrel last year, volatility in a massively upwards direction is not really a problem. Ed Daniels, Chair of Shell UK, Tony Reynolds, Deputy CEO of Bridge Energy and industry body UK Oil and Gas all say this trend of investment and growth is likely to continue. In the medium to long term, therefore, tax revenues from North Sea oil and gas are likely to go up. The ‘volatility’ of the oil market is in fact less so than the financial services market, upon which a great deal of Westminster’s economic strategy  is dependent.

Fact 8) Oil revenues present an environmental challenge but also an environmental opportunity.

Tidal Power

Scotland is an energy rich nation. However, finite resources cannot be used without

considering Scotland’s responsibilities to the global environment. Oil and gas present a challenge in controlling carbon dioxide production. Yet the short-term revenues from this industry can provide a long-term solution to both the economics of energy production and environmental concerns. Revenues and industry infrastructure and skills can support Scottish renewable energy projects, either directly or through Scottish oil fund investment.

This can form part of a crucial transition in energy production and consumption in Scotland – away from fossil fuel extraction towards clean, green energy sources. This is recognised by the current Scottish Government who have set and are achieving tough renewable energy targets.

Fact 9) Oil is only one aspect of Scotland’s diverse energy market and economic strength.

Oil is important to Scotland. However, it sits within a great wealth of many natural resources available to Scotland. In terms of energy alone, Scotland is developing an international pedigree in tidal, wave and wind energy. Scotland’s economy is also based on a much wider range of sectors – including retail, construction, tourism, manufacturing, electronics, textiles, banking, asset management, higher education, the creative sector, fishing, whisky and the thriving food and drink sector. In terms of tax take, Scotland’s returns from oil revenue are a far lower percentage than the receipts in Norway. Scotland’s economy is not dependent on oil revenues – they are a wealthy addition to Scotland’s overall prosperity.

Fact 10) Norway’s oil revenues might never run out.

Norway invested their oil revenues in a sovereign wealth fund. This began in 1990. It is now worth £460 billion. Managed by a state board, the wealth is invested in pensions, bonds and shares across the world. As a result of using oil revenues wisely, the people of Norway have an economy with strong, lasting foundations. Public services and tax levels in Norway have the added security of a stable fiscal balance. Quality of life and standards of living in Norway are the best in the world. This provides a stark contrast for the people of Scotland. It’s clear that Scotland’s natural resources are best managed by a government which is fully accountable to the people of Scotland. That is what can be ensured through a ‘Yes’ vote for independence.

Conclusion

As Larry Elliot the Guardian’s economics editor (a publication that is no friend to the Yes Campaign) wrote: “An entire era [of North Sea oil] can be summed up in three words: discovered, extracted, squandered”.

Should Scotland be an Independent CountryIf Scotland votes No next year then all we can reasonably expect is more of the same. If we vote Yes in 2014 we will have time to use our remaining North Sea assets to invest in Scotland’s future and make choices such as the option to re-industrialise Scotland to become a world leader in new environmental sciences and sustainable energy production. The second half of Scotland’s oil and gas years should be summed up with the words “extracted, invested and maximised”. It’s your choice, no really for once it actually is your choice.

 

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Category: 10 facts, Economics of Independence, North Sea Revenues, Oil and Gas, Renewables, Scotland's Economy

About the Author ()

Michael is Head of Research with Business for Scotland. A graduate from the University of Glasgow, he has carried out a series of interviews with academics, politicians and the public in Denmark, Iceland and Ireland. Michael's on twitter @GrayInGlasgow.

Comments (65)

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  1. Paul Ritchie says:

    Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is not £460bn – it never has reached that level. However it has severely reduced in value since 2008.
    Look it up.

  2. Anne Endgame says:

    Just asking – do you think that there may have been a backlash against buying Scottish goods in the rUK had Scotland gone independent? Not just in the buying of goods but also the movement of bank accounts, energy providers etc, the Headquarters at least of which are quite often based in Scotland. Do you think fewer people may have chosen to holiday in Scotland, at least in the short term? In other words, could there have been unforeseen consequences of independence? (Not to mention that since the referendum and certainly in recent months, the price of oil has plummeted and you don’t get the SNP saying much if anything about that, do you?)

    • M Peddie says:

      Hi Anne, I can’t speak for Business for SCotland, but I run a tourism business and we had our best year in 2014 as the Referendum stimulated a lot of interest in Scotland. We even had a lot of groups booking tours to coincide with what they thought would be a big party to celebrate Scottish Independence. What we have seen is a drop in sales of around 10% in 2015 as, and this is just based on anecdotal evidence from clients, Scotland has lost some of its romantic appeal now that it has gone “back in the box”. The image of a brave nation of free thinkers and warriors has been tarnished by the “No” vote.

  3. Keith Barclay says:

    Biz for Scotland can you imform me exactly how much oil revenue in sterling has actually been extracted from the North Sea?

  4. Karl waters says:

    Over seas whisky sales down by 18% oil down by 50% thank god the SNP didn’t get there own way there is one thing the SNP did do and that is split the people ! I would of thought with what has happened to the back bone finance what the SNP based all there main resons for going independent has collapsed The people of Scotland would re unite and for get about that independence psh

    • Anne Endgame says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I think all who were in favour of keeping the status quo have been very restrained in not asking the SNP how they think the Scottish economy would be doing right now if Scotland had have voted for independence.

  5. Alec Baldwin says:

    There are a few facts in this article today.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30525539

    If only “Fact” 7, actually was a fact, and not just propaganda.

  6. Peter Nisbet says:

    As a Scot living in Wales I have been following these discussions very closely with great interest, even though I do not get a vote. One aspect of Scottish independence that I have not seen mentioned relates to EU membership.

    While Scotland’s GDP might be high, and social security per head not much different to England, what will happen if millions of EU nationals decide to move to Scotland, both legally and perhaps finding it easier to land illegally on Scottish shores than those of England and Wales?

    You would also have to permit immigrants to enter the country to seek work – this is EU law. This might place a severe burden on a relatively small country. Has there been any discussion on this or contingency plans discussed?

    I am quite sure that if Scotland makes as big a success of this as most supporters hope it to,then it would also become a very attractive place for Eastern Europeans to move to – ostensibly for the purpose of seeking work.

    • Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp says:

      There are two points that need to be made here in response, firstly we believe that Scotland economy will grow quickly and that we will need to improve net migration. This will be done in two ways, by creating opportunities for young and talented people from Scotland to stay in Scotland and work rather than have to leave (this included highly educated international students) and by attracting immigrants wit skills to come and help boost our economy. Most of the immigrants will come from the rest of the UK but assuming the are younger as are the people who stay rather than leave then it will swiftly reengineer the age profile of Scotland and make pensions more affordable.

      Secondly Scotland has an open borders agreement with the rest of the UK and Ireland and ipso facto has an automatic opt out from the Schengen agreement so no change from the situation now.

  7. George M Clarkson says:

    Is it not time to update this article
    I have been researching the Oil position ,with particular interest in the size of the reserves remaining and I would say that your estimates are a little short given the recent announcements in this sector
    I would estimate that the figure is approximately double that that you have indicated
    The clare field alone is thought to be at least 8 billion barrels and I have identified another 7-8 billion of estimated reserves from the smaller fields such as buzzard/ catcher and a myriad of smaller fields ,combine this with some of the new exciting drilling techniques to extract oil from basement reservoirs (hurricane in the lancaster field) goes to show that your estimate is quite light ,
    Another issue is that there is quite a few successful wells which are awaiting permission /finance to fully assess their size which could prove to be very interesting in the future

    • Alec Baldwin says:

      Fully agree, time to update this article. “Fact” 7 is looking a little bit silly isn’t it? Be careful what you wish for, you just might not get it.

  8. Mary connor says:

    Can you tell me how many oil and gas platforms are in use today in the UK. And how many oil and gas platforms are in use today on Norway

  9. Jo C says:

    Oil lasting well in to the second part of this century is not enough to last my life time, never mind my children or my grandchildren… This article argues the point well but it’s based on another 40 years of oil which just isn’t enough.

    • Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp says:

      Scotland’s economy is not dependent on oil – without North Sea oil Scotland GDP is roughly the same per head as the UK. that is why people say that the North sea is a bonus to Scotland.

      As the oil revenues fall there are two choices milk the north sea for the treasury and bring its decline in early (Westminster’s strategy) or create a stable tax regime in order to maximise its contribution to the economy whilst taking the bonus revenue and investing a % of them in Scotland’s future and growing Scotland’s renewable, bioscience and R&D related sectors so we can create a fast grow economy that will not miss oil revenues.

      We are at the half way stage in terms of oil for Scotland – the question is should the second half be managed for the good of Scotland by whatever Government we elect or should it be managed by Westminster who have wasted the first half?

    • BigAl says:

      Sorry Jo but if its certainty in life that you are looking for then I’m afraid you are going to be disappointed! I think 40 odd years of a positive outlook is as good as its going to get.

  10. alanritchie says:

    I am learning all the time,reading the many Intellegent ( some not so)comments at 72 I think one is never to old to learn and be ambitious,my message to young people of our country ,listen to the auld yins they’ve been there they’ve done. It and they’ve got the T shirt.positive not negative vote yes for freedom from Westminster rule.

  11. Stuart Hill says:

    What everybody wants to keep quiet is that the oil is in Shetland waters and there is not a shred of proof that Shetland is part of Scotland. How does that affect the equation?

    • Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp says:

      Oh please “not a shred of proof that Shetland isn’t part of Scotland” – supply some evidence to suggest otherwise please.

      Scotland is a nation without a state, vote yes we become a full nation with full statehood . The Shetlands are a group of islands within a nation, islands or towns can’t become independent only nations. You may as well say what if Aberdeen decides to become independent and takes all the oil with it.

      Lets ignore facts for now and say that the Shetlands could become independent (they were polled and they said they wanted to stay with Scotland) if an island within the international waters of another nation were to become independent it would be an enclave – this would give it rights to all the oil and mineral wealth within 12 miles of the shoreline and there is no oil within 12 miles of the Shetlands.

      The Scottish government has offered more powers to Orkney and Shetland in the event on independence and I hope the maximum amount of devolution that can be offered is offered. I also want to see more powers devolved to mainland communities, towns and cities. The Shetlands must be allowed to benefit greatly from the oil coming ashore there to be processed and I hope they spend it wisely on creating a great future for their communities.

      I find it ironic that the Westminster Cabinet goes to Aberdeen and says that Scotland is too small to be able to get it oil out of the ground without the UK, but then they claim that Shetland’s could be independent and get is oil out. Come on, how can people give any credibility to anything they say?

      • Stuart Hill says:

        Gordon,
        If you are making the assertion, it’s up to you to provide the proof.
        Meanwhile, you might like to read my book on the subject so you can be better informed. It explains why Shetland is not and never could have been part of Scotland and how the courts are unable to enforce their sentences when challenged on the subject. That would seem to me to be pretty strong proof that neither Scotland or the UK has any authority in Shetland.
        You may also like to watch my freedom of information requests to the UK and Scottish governments on the subject at http://tinyurl.com/l3wqspl and http://tinyurl.com/mbh7zcl
        Neither Scotland or the UK rebuts our claim to the land and 200 miles of surrounding seabed. When £50 billion worth of oil goes through Shetland’s Sullom Voe oil terminal every year, that gives Shetland an awful lot of bargaining power.
        My book, Stolen Isles is available at http://www.stolenisles.com. Enjoy.

        • Andy F says:

          I wandered where this was going…straight to a link to your book that’s where. Typical.

        • Mau says:

          Plenty money “goes through” a bank tellers hands every year, doesn’t give the teller any “bargaining power” … What’s your point apart from a free promo?

  12. Thomas Stevenson says:

    With all the media being controlled by Labour,conservatives. We will never be able to allow the ordinary people of Scotland understand what wealth there is, the only things we hear from the no lobby is down down disaster, it’s time the people that have the influence start to get a talk Scotland up campaign. The figures are there to back this up, forby oil, gas, we also have water,whisky,energy, agricultural. This is all the envy of the world. Best of all we have the never say die determination that is only built with pride which very few other country’s can say this.
    Enough rantings, if chargé the people the business man, woman, make everyone aware of all the good points at same acknowledging that there are bad points. Visual accounting.

  13. peter says:

    Scotland has nothing to offer yes we have oil but this oil has to be removed by large oil companies. And when the Scottish government put the taxes up for the removal of the oil they will leave. There is no other large manufacturing in scotland and the welfare budget is huge with millions of people who wont work with drug and alcohol problems. I am a proud scot but I will not be voting for an independent Scotland its a joke to think we can make it alone. How will that work for tax, armed forces, nhs, currency, dvla, police intelligence and so on?

    • kieran says:

      Well well well, Peter you are the type of philistine that should pack up and move down the road come September. I think you should do some more reading up on the subjects you have mentioned.
      For example the NHS and Police is already established and controlled by the Scottish parliament. Armed forces? I take it you like our friends fathers brothers dieing in illegal wars that cost our country billions of pounds every year?

    • W Bruce says:

      Why not add facts to your doubts.. Its people like you that drag Scotland down

    • ian says:

      Have a modicum of faith in yourself and your fellow countrymen and hate them less. This view is an entrenched and old one. I used to hear it all them time. Luckily people have begun to believe in more than self depreciation and this terminal lack of confidence. We do have problems but remember to vote no is to say it could never get better. That there is no hope. That this is it. Remember that all these issues happened under Westminster’s watch. So do you really want to leave it to them forever? Have ambition and have faith. Believe. Believe that things could be better. Believe that with the focus of government entirely focussed on this countrry that we could change it. Break free of the desolation evident in your contribition.

    • callum says:

      Hi Peter- I disagree. Scottish unemployment is lower than in London for example. There are not “millions” of people who wont work; the suggestion that we will have proportionally higher unemployment under independence is simply untrue.

    • Jay says:

      Scotland has nothing to offer? Just one small example, our exports of whisky to China alone are at the £80m mark.
      Millions of benefits to people with drug and alcohol problems? Is this a fact you read in the Daily Mail perchance? One point, the majority of welfare BY FAR is paid to pensioners.
      Oil companies will leave? No, they won’t. They have already invested bilions in extracting in the UK, there is too much money to be made from this resource, which is why, for example, oil companies take huge risks in volatile countries just to get their hands on it.
      It’s a joke to think we can make it alone? The way the UK is being squeezed dry for the benefit of the rich is a joke. The fact Scots have not voted for the government that has controlled us for 30years is a joke.
      Sorry, but your entire statement is a joke. Perhaps you should research a few facts and figures from reliable sources before you speak.

    • David Lafferty says:

      Peter I don’t know if you will read this since it’s two months since your post.

      1st of all I have my own manufacturing business that exports to 50 countries and if I had the same give up attitude as you then I wouldn’t employ people.

      Secondly I took two of my staff to Norway who were going to vote no, after seeing what Norway is doing for their people both of them are voting YES. Norway with slightly less population than Scotland have 39 shipyards and build 11% of the worlds ships.

      Thirdly it was Westminster who decimated Scotland’s heavy industries to deliberately make our people a dependent nation. If we vote YES we have a chance to reverse that. Please don’t be Mr negative, Scots are very industrious and you have the chance to get our pride and industries back.

    • alanritchie says:

      Get real peter,yes Scotland has drug problems & high unemployment,and poverty,but ask yourself,can Scotland fare any worse under self government,without stating the obvious. Britain has been in continual decline since the swinging sixties.Blame it on labour or blame it on conservative who in turn blame it on each other,Nothing is going to change unless we stop whining and ,like the SNP do something about it.So my advice is ,as we can’t do any worse,let’s ‘bite the bullet’and vote yes for a new beginning.banish these negative thoughts and be positive.

      • Gavin Alexander says:

        “we can’t do any worse” – hilarious. Some Scottish people act like we are living in the dirt with a gun to our heads forced to sing rule Britannia every morning

    • Jim says:

      Interesting! You claim that big oil companies would leave if taxes went up. So let them go….. Whats to stop an independent scotland from creating its own oil companies with the wealth of knowledge and experience already within the industry in Scotland. Also many have claimed that the ship building industry on the Clyde would be affected. The guys who build the ships can just as easily build the rigs

    • BigAl says:

      What if the Scottish Govt puts the taxes DOWN? What effect do you think that will have on attracting large global companies to Scotland – as Ireland did – and they attracted many many big employers

  14. Nick Bowles says:

    I’ve added a link to this excellent article from the Oil page on our new site :

    http://www.scottishindependencereferendum.info/oil.html

  15. Craig Murdoch says:

    One of the main variables of Oil revenues are is of course global oil price, all financial ‘doom and gloom’ stories really boil down to oil revenues and primarily stem from predictions made by the OBR.

    Nov’10: OBR predict 2013-14 oil price of $87/barrel (and static thereafter)
    Nov’11: OBR predict 2013-14 oil price of $101/barrel (then falling $3-4 per year)
    Dec’12: OBR predict 2013-14 oil price of $106/barrel (then falling $4-5 per year)
    Mar’13: OBR predict 2013-14 oil price of $113/barrel (then falling $4-7 per year)

    In 2010 OBR were 25% out on a three year prediction, then having to appear more realistic as the outturn approaches.

    Despite prices remaining stable coming on for 3 years, with each publication the OBR forecast a steeper decline leading to a $90-93 price point in 2017-18, indicating a deficit scenario in Scotland’s early years of independence.

    The OBR have already admitted Oil price prediction is impossible, so have chosen a ‘magic number’ which suits the Westminster agenda and are working backwards to create the illusion of a ‘forecast’ with this endpoint. They only have to maintain this strategy until September next year.

    I predict OBR predictions following September next year will revert to an upward trend as all other agencies are forecasting.

  16. Callum says:

    Thanks for your piece.

    I don’t see anyone shedding any light on the theme of sovereignty of territorial waters.

    Where’s the demarcation of who will own which sections of the North Sea (and teh rest of waters around Scotland, in the case of a Yes vote?

    • Elaine G says:

      I have heard that there is a pipeline running straight from the rigs and down into England,and that the oil and its revenue is going to bypass Scotland and we will have no right to it. Is there any truth in this?

      • W Bruce says:

        I know of no oil pipeline running to England. Even if there was. The flow would be simply tuned off and redirected along the lines that run into Scotland.

        Where in England does this supposed pipeline run to?

      • Bruce L says:

        The Langeled pipeline feeds directly into Easington gas terminal in Co. Durham, but this is gas not oil, and it is fed from a Norweigan gas field. I believe the vast majority of north sea oil makes shore at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands, and Cruden Bay just south of Peterhead. There is no terminal at Cruden Bay; the pipeline which comes aground there runs directly to Grangemouth.

        Even if oil or gas were to be piped directly into England from Scottish waters, the exploitation of a Scottish resource would still have to be paid for.

  17. Craig Murdoch says:

    This is just the kind of analysis that we need to get across to the electorate.

    One point I’ve noted that doesn’t seem to get touched on;

    It’s generally accepted that Scotland’s GDP per capita excluding North Sea production is roughly similar to the rUK. Yes, North Sea production will inevitably decline, but as this happens the skilled workforce and those coming through who would have entered the industry will be busy looking to do something else productive (perhaps in renewables) where much of the expertise is transerable.

    So although a loss of North Sea GDP, taken in isolation, would put us into an equivalent GDP to rUK, this would in fact be gradual and largely offset by the many thousands who are employed there being utilised in other industries.

    Of course the challenge is to ensure that there is suffient growth withing Scotland’s other industries to capitalise on the transferable skills of our oil workers.

    • Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp says:

      Anecdotal only as I dont have time to look up the source but I understand via a conversation with a Director of UK Oil and Gas (industry body) that 40% of oil and Gas corporation tax receipts are related to global (outside the North Sea) contracts that the companies such as Wood Group etc have.

      Scottish companies are world leader in difficult / marginal oil field extraction so still oil receipts for Government after North Sea?

  18. Dr Willie Wilson says:

    The only shortcoming in your analysis is a failure to mention the fact that thousands of exploration blocks off the west coast haven’t even been looked at yet! When the subs with WMDs stop crawling around we could have another bonanza on our hands. How could we cope??

    • David Taylor says:

      1: The Subs will never leave Scotland, as long as there is “cold war”…. Of any kind.

      2: The gas side should be preserved for future heating of homes. A gas fired power stations daily use would keep a 3 bed house for 1000years.

  19. Adam MacGregor says:

    I agree with your sentiments, but you should be careful when calling things ‘facts’ and not backing them up with any evidence. When you say “The ‘volatility’ of the oil market is in fact less so than the financial services market, upon which a great deal of Westminster’s economic strategy is dependent,” I’m willing to believe that’s true, however you do need some sort of supporting evidence to back that statement up. Since you’ve backed up your other statements with evidence, it does you a disservice to be so inconsistent.
    Additionally, when you say “In terms of tax take, Scotland’s returns from oil revenue are a far lower percentage than the receipts in Norway,” it is disingenuous to claim this is a benefit; since Scotland takes far less in tax than Norway does overall, it is not a good thing, but a bad thing, that we cannot glean the same value from our oil reserves.
    Otherwise though, great piece. Of course, Better Together don’t really deal in facts most of the time, but hopefully business in Scotland and Internationally can read this article and take a better understanding of the potential situation post-independence (fingers crossed).

    • Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp says:

      Adam I have two charts that use to over lay the volatility of the oil price and the volatility of financial markets and financial markets are more volatile and their contagion to the wider economy is also far greater. This has been aptly demonstrated by the banking crises and the impact on the global economy. I could have added those images but then i I add everything the article would be 20,000 words long. You will see the volatility point demonstrated in a video published on this site soon.

      I thought that finical market volatility levels were obvious and didn’t need backed up but point taken.

      The No campaign say that dependence on oil is a problem for an independent Scotland my point is that we are not dependent on oil and it is a lower % of our GDP that Norway’s is benefit as it demonstrates the robust and varied nature of our economy and negates the dependent on oil argument. Scotland’s economy is also based on a much wider range of sectors – including retail, construction, tourism, manufacturing, electronics, textiles, banking, asset management, higher education, the creative sector, fishing, whisky and the thriving food and drink sector. In terms of tax take, Scotland’s returns from oil revenue are a far lower percentage than the receipts in Norway. Scotland’s economy is not dependent on oil revenues – they are a wealthy addition to Scotland’s overall prosperity.

      And it is also the case that we are gleaning more value from our oil reserves marginal field extraction is better in Scotland than it is in Norway. The tax regime in the UK has been inconsistent with the Chancellors tax grab in 2008 causing production to fall and and then the decommissioning relief to make up for it leading to massive new investment when the industry says what it needs is the level of certainty in taxation that Norway has.

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