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Monday, 25 August 2014

Academic highlights potential for major oil finds west of Shetland

The SNP’s Fergus Ewing has welcomed comments from Professor John Howell, Chair of Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen and one of Scotland's leading experts in petroleum geology, who has said Scotland could see a second oil boom as there may be major new oil finds west of Shetland. Writing in the Herald Professor Howell said “he would not be surprised if major new discoveries are made” West of Shetland, “opening up a second major oil boom for Scotland.”

Professor Howell’s comments follow on from a statement from Oil and Gas UK yesterday, that they “remain of the view that there could be up to 24 billion barrels of oil and gas to recover”, and the views of energy academics Professor Alex Kemp, Professor Alex Russell and Professor Peter Strachan, who have all stated that Oil and Gas UK’s figures are plausible. The Scottish Government already has plans, working with industry experts, to examine the potential for oil and gas discoveries off Scotland’s west coast.

Commenting, Fergus Ewing MSP said: “This is a major intervention from Professor John Howell, one of Scotland’s leading offshore experts, saying there may be major new oil finds West of Shetland, opening up a second oil boom. That is extremely encouraging and shows the huge potential which remains for Scotland’s oil and gas sector. Especially as it comes on the back of Oil and Gas UK and a range of leading academic opinion confirming that up to 24 billion barrels of oil and gas remain."

"What is important both for the industry and for public finances, is to bring an end to the Westminster mismanagement of the oil and gas tax regime, which has brought in sudden and unpredicted changes in taxation affecting the system – causing uncertainty and damaging any remaining reputation the UK had for good stewardship of Scotland’s oil wealth. The 2011 hike in the supplementary charge is the most infamous example, but even this year sudden changes to the fiscal rules affecting the industry have caused great concern."

"Furthermore, in stark contrast to Norway, whose oil fund now sits at over £500 billion and is so large that it is buying up chunks of central London, successive Westminster Governments have squandered Scotland’s oil, with funds instead helping the Treasury finance nuclear weapons, illegal wars and the House of Lords. A Yes vote on September 18th gives Scotland the opportunity to change that forever."