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  By Martin Kelly
A poll of oil workers has found mixed views on the effect independence would have on the industry.
The survey for NES Global Talent found that 54% of respondents believe that more jobs will be created as a result of a Yes vote in next year’s referendum.

Meanwhile 75% of respondents believe that their current wages will be maintained or increased in an independent Scotland, while 69% believe that investment in the industry will stay at current levels or increase.

However there were also concerns expressed with 39% believing oil and gas investment levels would fall if Scotland becomes independent and 53% saying it will have a negative impact on workers.

The survey results were interpreted differently by parties on each side of the referendum debate with the SNP insisting it demonstrated the negativity and scares promoted by the No campaign were unfounded.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central Kevin Stewart said:

“This poll shows most offshore workers believe independence will see an increase in North Sea jobs.  These are extremely welcome findings and show that the negativity towards the oil & gas sector from anti-independence politicians is doing little to damage confidence within this booming industry.

“People within the industry who know it best anticipate increased jobs in an independent Scotland – and that is a boost to the Yes campaign.

“Having suffered from the kind of Westminster mismanagement that saw a surprise £2 billion tax raid sprung on the industry with no warning, it is no wonder that the prospect of an independent Scotland holds no fear for those working in the oil & gas sector.

“It is increasingly clear that the only way to ensure that the sector is managed in a sensible way on behalf of people in Scotland is with a Yes vote in next year’s referendum.”

However Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, convener of Holyrood’s Energy Committee, said: “What this survey shows is no one really knows what to expect from the oil industry in the years and decades to come. It’s a hugely valuable, greatly appreciated but, ultimately, volatile industry.

“That’s why its future is far safer in the environment of the United Kingdom where fluctuations can be absorbed and investment guaranteed.

“It seems, like everyone else, workers in the sector want considerably more information from the SNP than has been forthcoming before a firm consensus can be reached.”

The sector has dominated the independence debate in recent weeks with clashes over estimates and figures.  The UK Government’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) claims that revenue from the sector will shrink significantly over the next three decades to an insignificant amount of the UK GDP.

However industry backed Scottish government figures have challenged the pessimistic forecasts with both insisting that there are still significant reserves of oil still to come from the sector.  The Scottish government estimates that there is a further £1.5 trillion worth of oil yet to be extracted.

MEANWHILE, writing in the energy magazine Energy Voice, Tony Mackay has said that the independence referendum needs a debate over oil.

The MD of economists Mackay Consultants writes: “The standard of economic analysis on the subject has been mixed but even the best work has been misused or misrepresented by the politicians on both sides of the divide.”

Mackay revised his own previous pessimistic forecasts for the next few years and now says that there will be increases in production due to investment, but that long term the trend will be downwards.

“It is probable that there will be short-term increases over the next few years because of the current investments in new field developments, notably West of Shetland, but the long-term trend is undoubtedly downwards.” said the analyst.

His latest forecast is a change from his predictions in July 2012 when he told the BBC that the industry faced sharp falls in the five years up to 2017.

Mackay also appeared more optimistic on the price of oil saying he expected it to average “at least $100 per barrel for the foreseeable future”.

However he was scathing of recent long term predictions from the OBR calling the three decade timescale on which its July forecasts were based “ludicrous and unnecessary”.

The body, created three years ago by Chancellor George Osborne, has been ridiculed for its pessimistic forecasts for the oil and gas sector.  Last month it claimed revenues from the UK oil and gas sector would fall from 0.7% of GDP in fiscal year 2011/12 to reach only 0.2% of GDP by 2017-18 before plummeting to 0.03% of GDP over the next two decades.

The OBR based its long term predictions on there being no rise in oil prices in real terms from 2018 onwards.


TOMORROW! Duggy Dug – Scotland’s Oil

Hollywood star Brian Cox provides the voice of cartoon character Duggy as we look at oil and independence.

To help fund ‘Project Duggy’ click on the image on the right.


2013-08-07 19:56

Unionists keep trotting out statements about the UK “investing” in the oil industry.
What investment ?
As far as I can tell all the UK government has ever done is to extract taxes from the oil producers.
Maybe the politicians are talking about their private investments.
2013-08-07 20:07

The price of grain often rises and falls by 30% from year to year.Same with fruit ,veg and meat.Far too volatile.So we better just give all that to London as well.Let them look after it for us.Cos we’re too thick.
2013-08-07 22:01

Rune Likvern: “My Experiences after Eight Years with the The”:


Presently and for the near term I do believe we are not primarily facing an energy crisis, but a continued growth in costs to extract resources and Energy is the master resource. This extraction is from increasingly marginal prospects that will make it demanding to replicate the recent decades unprecedented economic growth which also was facilitated by accelerating amounts of debt (borrowing from the future). This happens while society’s ability to pay for costlier resources rapidly diminishes. In this context I also believe that our institutions, governments and individual expectations (e.g. pensions, retirement plans, and ideas of future consumption, etc.) are not likely to come to fruition.

2013-08-07 22:41

Here’s a different take ..…/…
call me dave
2013-08-08 00:06

Among the other riches that Scotland has the oil is only part of the whole wealth.
We must not be too triumphalist about it nor should we be too timorous or frightened to acknowledge it.

It is a resource that our parents and us were not told the truth about and has been to a large extent used unwisely. It is a resource that could be, and should be used for the benefit of the current population and for another two generations to come.
So let’s not be ashamed to take charge of it in Scotland when independence is achieved because I believe our present SG
will use it well.

Roll on 2014.
2013-08-08 06:08

I force myself to believe there is a decent future from our oil, because that helps quench the black rage I feel about such a wonderful bounty being squandered so cheaply when so very much more was possible. Scotland getting ‘something’ from its oil is so much easier to live with than getting nothing; nothing that is besides being conned, lied to and swindled.
2013-08-08 10:32

They do realise that a great deal of the workers interviewed are English and have only had access to the negative propaganda of unionist media
2013-08-08 11:04

Quoting clootie:

They do realise that a great deal of the workers interviewed are English and have only had access to the negative propaganda of unionist media

Indeed I asked this same question yesterday (not published) and would be interested to know how many of those interviewed actually lived in Scotland. Obviously those living elsewhere (if aware how their opinions would be used) may well see their future at jeopardy if working outside rUK and with an independent Scotland in charge of oil revenues.

Chateaulait 57
2013-08-08 16:41

Quoting clootie:

They do realise that a great deal of the workers interviewed are English and have only had access to the negative propaganda of unionist media

Sadly most of the Scottish workers will only have access to the negative propaganda of unionist media too Clootie.


Saltire Groppenslosh
2013-08-08 10:37

In a few decades, all the revenue and jobs that comes from the oil will be gone. That is a sore fact. We therefore have two simple choices here.

We could put all our faith in Westminster and hope against hope that when one of our primary economic drivers is gone that they’ll help Scotland reduce the disastrous effects at that time, or do we feel that they’d do the same as in the past and ignore the plight of the Scottish people?

Scotland regains its independence.
Scotland would have a written constitution. We can write into that constitution that a proportion of the oil revenue and licence money would be put away into an oil fund similar to Norway’s. That constitution would prevent any future politician using the money for political gain and like Norway, they would be limited to a spend of 4% of the interest each year.

The choice is entirely yours. I know which one I’m choosing.
2013-08-08 15:13

“What history shows is no one really knows what to expect from the the financial Services industry in the years and decades to come. It’s a hugely valuable, greatly appreciated but, ultimately, volatile industry.”

Don’t see this piece of factual comment being discussed by a Tory Spokesman
2013-08-08 18:56

Definitely O/T but BBC’s Reevel Alderson claiming that Jack Mcconnel was responsible for the increase in population in Scotland since 2001.
However,recentl  y,Scotland’s population has declined and when prompted by Sally he responded that we have a big problem with our ageing population (we canny afford them being the implicit threat).
2013-08-08 19:27

So a predictable response from Murdo Fraser then:
1. Oil prices are too volatile
2. We need considerably more information from the SNP than has been forthcoming

So in the first part he says it’s unpredictable and then he contradicts himself by saying the SNP should have considerably more information than has been forthcoming.

So, is he saying that the SNP have a crystal ball, that they know exactly what oil prices will be in the future, but the dastardly Nats refuse to say?

Get real, Murdo. We don’t zip up the back.

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