Does Scotland have enough oil left?

Oil is a finite resource that can’t be replenished and as the world moves to more environmentally friendly energy sources its significance will decline.

Nevertheless, the discovery of oil off Scotland’s coast could have been a great benefit but remained in Westminster control. Despite hundreds of billions of pounds going to the UK Treasury the money has been wasted year on year. 

Almost immediately oil was discovered Westminster politicians told Scotland it would only last a few decades – yet it is still being extracted years after those warnings were made.

In contrast Norway, with a population similar to Scotland, used their oil revenues to invest in a wealth fund. It is now one of the largest single oil wealth funds in the world and Norway is one of the richest countries per person in the world. 

In 2018 it was estimated that if an oil fund had been created from the North Sea oil revenues in the 1980s, it would have been worth over £500 billion. That’s about £100,000 for everyone in Scotland.

Whilst oil may be finite and extraction will decline there will still be a market for it in other applications. With independence we would view any revenues accrued from oil as a bonus and would invest that in an oil fund for future generations.

But there’s another reason the oil industry is important. The offshore skills learnt from it can be applied to the expansion of offshore renewable energy. With Scotland having 63% of the UK’s economic exclusion zone we have a great opportunity as a nation to become a world leader in renewable energy.

However Westminster’s policy of charging more for energy produced in Scotland compared to areas in the South of England, where it is subsidised, our energy potential is hamstrung.

Only with independence can Scotland apply the policies that don’t waste the revenues and skills that the oil industry has given Scotland.