Oil industry to thrive with independence
North Sea would flourish in an independent Scotland.
The oil and gas industry would prosper and thrive with fiscal and regulatory stability in an independent Scotland, Fergus Ewing confirmed today.
With independence the Energy Minister said the Scottish Government would enhance the existing fiscal regime to maximise oil and gas recovery and stimulate development in the North Sea.
Following independence there would be no plans to increase the overall tax burden on the industry and a formal consultation would be carried out before any changes would be made to the fiscal regime, something successive UK Governments have failed to commit to.
The need for fiscal, regulatory and licensing regimes in the North Sea was first detailed in the paper, Maximising the return from Oil and Gas in an Independent Scotland. Those key principles set out the Scottish Government’s commitment to providing long-term stability in the North Sea. The Independent Expert Commission is now building on those recommendations.
Mr Ewing said: “As set out in Scotland’s Future, our government is committed to ensuring that the competitive advantages that we have are retained and enhanced, so that we realise the opportunities that remain in the North Sea and that we play a central role in the development of new opportunities in other markets.
“Unlike successive Westminster governments, the Scottish Government recognises that an independent Scotland should provide industry with the necessary fiscal and regulatory stability and predictability for it to innovate and thrive in a globally competitive environment.
“Scotland has been blessed with unrivalled natural resources, and our oil and gas reserves are a premium advantage. The wealth it brings, if properly managed, can make a real difference to the people of Scotland, with all communities around the country benefitting from them.
“There are around 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas remaining in the North Sea with a potential wholesale value of up to £1.5 trillion. This means that more than half the value of North Sea oil is still to be extracted, which affords Scotland greater choices and chances to strengthen its diverse economy.
“The United Kingdom Continental Shelf is currently going through an investment boom and it’s expected to reach an all-time record of between £13.5 billion and £14 billion in 2013.
“The fact that investments of almost £100 billion are now in companies’ plans highlights the potential for the North Sea oil and gas sector to boost economic activity and contribute to Scotland’s public finances for many years to come.”
The Expert Commission is considering options for the implementation of the key principles set out in the Scottish Government’s paper Maximising the return from Oil and Gas in an Independent Scotland and will publish its report in spring 2014. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0042/00428074.pdf
Sir Ian Wood’s Interim Report published in November suggests that a new regulatory body is needed in order to achieve the massive prize of maximising economic recovery of oil and gas. The interim report can be viewed here: http://www.woodreview.co.uk/