By Martin Kelly

Massive oil reserves off of the west coast of Scotland are to be examined after the Scottish Government announced it is to set up a review along with top academics and experts.

The area which includes the north and west coast of Shetland down to through the Hebrides and into the Firth of Clyde will be the subject of a review in order to determine the true scale of the oil and gas reserves.

According to the Sunday Post, the Scottish Government will, this Autumn, co-host a workshop with Heriot-Watt University’s Institute of Petroleum Engineering to examine the potential for conventional oil and gas resources in the waters off the west coast.

The announcement follows increasing speculation that a massive field to the west of Shetland has been discovered.

The field, located in the Greater Clair area around the islands, has already witnessed a huge investment from BP with the company set to employ advanced techniques in order to maximise production output. A promotional video for the Clair field has explained how the company plans a “major transformation” to the field which BP itself describes as a “truly giant field”.

The company estimates that the field will begin production in 2016, and be able to produce over 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

Commenting last month, BP chief executive Bob Dudley said: “We remain very enthusiastic about Clair Ridge – appraisal wells are looking good. It is helping us to define the structure out there.

“[Clair Ridge] will be a project once we get it on in the next few years that has the potential to produce until 2050.”

Rumours that a massive new oil boom might be imminent grew when UK Prime Minister David Cameron made an unannounced visit to Shetland three weeks ago.

Islanders were surprised when the PM stepped off of a plane on one of the islands airfields.

The 1600 mile round trip from London had been kept secret from journalists. Downing Street refused to be drawn on why the visit had not been publicised beforehand.

Speculation that there is massive oil reserves around Shetland follow revelations that there may be huge untapped reserves under the Firth of Clyde.

It recently emerged that surveys carried out in the seventies found evidence of significant reserves of oil, but further drilling was blocked by the Ministry of Defence because the waters were crucial to the movement of nuclear submarines.

There are also claims that fields to the West of Lewis are not being developed due to objections from the MoD as the area is used for war games involving nuclear subs as well as for the test firing of missiles from the Uist range.

At a recent energy meeting in Stornaway, local people spoke of exploratory work conducted over several decades to the West of the Western Isles. Those who had been involved in the surveys were reporting back locally the there was a massive oil field there which “comes right up to the shore”.

Speaking to the Sunday Post, John Howell, Professor of Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen, said: “The offshore area to the west of Scotland includes several major basins with hydrocarbon potential.

“While over 3,000 exploration wells have been drilled in the North Sea and West of Shetland, only around 20 have been drilled to the west of the Scottish mainland.

“This provides significant future potential which can only be appraised with detailed scientific study.”

Energy minister Fergus Ewing said: “Stimulating oil and gas activity to the west of Scotland could create employment and further increase the longevity of the industry in the country.

“Any activity will be supported by Scotland’s world-class indigenous supply chain with 40 years of experience in the North Sea.”

[Newsnet comment: The issue of North Sea Oil has been at the centre of the independence debate for decades. In 2005 a secret report emerged that revealed successive Westminster Government’s had withheld the true value of North Sea oil from the Scottish people.

In 1974 the UK Government commissioned a report into the potential of North Sea Oil and how it might influence support for Scottish independence. The report made clear that an independent Scotland would be far richer than if it remained within the Union.

The report’s conclusions were so dangerous that it was designated secret and hidden for thirty years before a Freedom of Information request forced the UK Government to reveal its contents.

Newsnet Scotland copied the entire report, together with an introductory letter written in 1975 by its author Gavin McCrone, and published it – it can be read here.

Publication of the McCrone report by Newsnet Scotland followed an admission by former Labour Chancellor Denis Healey that the Labour Government of the 1970s deliberately hid the true value of Scottish oil in order to thwart support for the SNP.

Newsnet Scotland published a short video – narrated by actor David Hayman – which summarised the report’s conclusions. It is reproduced below.]


2014-08-17 12:21

This is one time when we can be delighted that a London agency – the MOD has held up developments in Scotland.

It means that ALL of the West Coast Oil will be left for Scotland to exploit and spend the money in Scotland rather than London and the South East as happens now.

This will be the Game Changer many are looking for once this information gets out but of course, the real Game Changer has been smouldering away for months:

55% voted in 2011. 75-80% are expected to vote on the 18th. Most of that extra 20/25% are coming from people disillusioned with the UK system of Government.

Are they likely to vote for the system which they stopped believing in? OR are they more likely to vote for the new, exciting system which is awakening HOPE all over Scotland.

Nicola has addressed two meetings of 500 in the past week, in Kirkcaldy a picture of the huge crowd occupied most of this weeks Fife Free Press.

2014-08-17 21:37

The last line in my post should read…..Fife Free Press Front Page.

Auld Rock
2014-08-17 12:52

Now that this out all of Scotland owes a deep debt of gratitude to William ‘Big Mac’ McLaughlin, BA(Hons),MBA who has worked tirelessly over the past years to bring all this information together using his vast experience and contacts in the oil/gas industry both upstream and downstream so that Westminster does not once again rob Scotland and its people of their natural resources to build a better fairer Scotland. This announcement means that we will not suffer from a buried secret report i.e. McCrone.
2014-08-17 13:49

# ButeHouse

Yes, there is a kind of poetic justice in the fact the MOD are responsible for the oil in the West Coast and possibly the Hebrides is still there to help a free Scotland. Love it!

2014-08-17 15:25

This opens a wonderful prospect for an independent Scotland as long as we do not allow ourselves to be again taken for suckers by Westminster like last time,the choice is ours on 18th September!
2014-08-17 17:31

Ah but the volatility in the price of oil makes any reliance on it uncertain. We could have boom – or bust! Don’t let YES fool you that is this natural asset is reliable! Fool me once etc…..
2014-08-17 18:09

Westminster have never stopped underestimating the oil potential in Scottish waters since the McCrone report.

22 wells in the Catcher field,a £1.5bn investment from Premier Oil

Dana finds more oil

Centrica Chestnut field underestimated

£4bn invested at Kraken field

Hurricane Energy success in shallow water

Clair field – production to last beyond 2050

Also £3bn for Schielhallion and Loyal fields, £700m in the Kinnoull field.

BP are investing more than £10bn alone.

2014-08-17 18:31

Sometime ago. I posted a link to an oil and gas find on Newsnet Scotland. It was 50 miles north west of the Isle of Lewis. It was discovered by Shell in 2005. One of the difficulties of getting oil and gas from that area was the lack of infrastructure. I am sure there has been improvements to harbours in the North West of Scotland to cope with the support ships for the oil and gas industry. I provided a link to a report (See chapter 9) on the potential revenues the Treasury could expect based on the price of a barrel of oil ranging from $30 to $60 dollars per barrel.…/……/….

Wullie B
2014-08-18 11:45

The oil field you are on about is under the Darwin Mounds, the only cold water coral in the North Atlantic and as such was declared an SAC to brevent bottom trawling from damaging it, and the reason the coral survives is because of the heat from the oil below it

2014-08-17 19:21

The more you read and hear – the further your jaw drops-

(2013 article) – quote: ” Gas from the Laggan-Tormore fields will start flowing next summer building up to full production of 500 million cubic feet per day by the end of 2014.” …….
“Two 143 kilometre flowlines bringing Laggan-Tormore gas into the £800 million onshore gas plant being built by French energy giant Total will unlock around one fifth of Britain’s remaining hydrocarbon resources.”…/…

Cracking video on Laggan- Tormore fields-…/

It’s as if there is a parallel world going on out there – we are being kept in ignorance about our oil/gas wealth, while Westminster is laughing all the way to the bank….

2014-08-17 19:49

Millie, I agree; it does seem like a parallel universe where lies equal truth.

It frustrates me that some people think that Scotland only became wealthy following the oil and gas finds; we were subsidising the UK long before that. The available records prove that beyond doubt.

You can even see it when you look around you. I’m from Glasgow and it amazes me that people can’t see how wealthy Glasgow once was when they look at some of the architecture around them. Many of the beautiful buildings in Glasgow, which are now offices or apartments, used to be townhouses owned by wealthy merchants.

That is replicated around Scotland and should be a clue: we were not, ever, poor! Our past wealth is there right in front of our faces! I just hope that we’re still smart enough (years of indoctrinating Scots with the mantra of “You’re poor and you’re stupid” seem to have worked on many people) to see through the lies; we were and are a wealthy country.


From The Suburbs
2014-08-17 20:37

Surprised YES campaign has made more of this or none picked up this story in to-day;s Sunday Times.

SCOTLAND’S oil and gas revenues could be up to six times higher than those forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), according to an independent report which Alex Salmond, the first minister, said “blows another huge hole in the credibility” of the London-based fiscal watchdog.

N-56, an apolitical economic think tank, has published an analysis of Scotland’s future oil and gas revenues which suggests they could be worth £365bn by 2040. The OBR has forecast a more conservative figure of £57bn.

It claims that Scotland’s public finances could be comfortably in surplus by as much as 7% of GDP by 2020 — more than £12bn per annum — with surpluses of £9bn to £11bn a year in the 2020s and £5bn a year in the 2030s.

The report calculates that an oil fund, could grow to more than £300bn — in today’s prices — by the end of the 2030s.

2014-08-17 22:18

Perhaps we’re too used to fighting put-downs and don’t blow our own trumpet enough. Well, think on….. MacSatchmo is going to be reborn, big time. YEEEESSSS!

2014-08-17 21:56

My first question is will the report of this ‘review’ be published before or after the 18th of September, and even if it is, it will be too late to influence postal voting.
The Scottish government have been asleep at the wheel, for many of us have been asking for some action, since the BP made public the above film four months ago.
Never forget what the UK government are capable of.
In 1999 , two weeks before the first Scottish parliament was elected, they transferred to English jurisdiction, 6000sq miles of Scottish waters, taking 6 oil wells in the process.
Nothing is beyond them
Auld Rock
2014-08-17 22:24

Cuckooshoe, remember that when first oil was discovered east of Shetland neither Sullom Voe or Orkney terminals existed. There is also the possibility to use a buoyed storage system and collect directly by tankers nowadays.

Auld Rock

Wullie B
2014-08-18 10:35

Oil was discovered ON the Isle of Skye back in the 80’s but at time prices were rubbish somewhere along the lines of $14 a barrel and deemed not worth it but at todaya prices I am surprised that there has been no further development of the well which was capped and left, the company involved spent months setting off charges to check seismic returns, and I dont know why they havent returned to utilise data collected back then unless the company is no longer with us

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