‘It’s (still) Scotland’s oil’ says SNP as North Sea industry prepares for new exploration boom after 50 years

Scotland takes the lion's share of new oil drilling licences (shown in dark blue) in OGA North Sea 30th licensing round.
Scotland takes the lion’s share of new oil drilling licences (shown in dark blue) in OGA North Sea 30th licensing round.

The SNP said that a ‘transformational’ new round of 60 exploration licences offered by the Oil and Gas Authority shows that North Sea industry is in revival – and underlines the case for Scotland having the power to steward these natural resources in the national interest.

OGA – the Aberdeen-based oil and gas regulator – yesterday declared that the North Sea industry is “very much alive” after it awarded 123 offshore drilling licences to 61 oil exploration companies.

The lion’s share of newly-licensed exploration blocks (shown in dark blue, above) are in Scotland’s territorial waters in the North Sea.

Last month, the IPPR think-tank suggested that successive UK governments had squandered up to £500 billion of oil and gas revenues by not investing in a sovereign wealth fund in the way Norway did.

Instead, successive UK governments used the money to fund tax breaks for the wealthiest – while Norway’s investment has created the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, now worth over $1 trillion and still growing.

The oil and gas sector has also warned about the impact of Brexit on the industry – with Tory hard Brexit plans set to cost the sector up to £500 million a year.

For nearly 50 years, the SNP has consistently called for full powers over the oil and gas sector to come to Holyrood so that Scotland can properly steward these immense natural resources.

Last night, Gillian Martin, the SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire East – and who sits on Holyrood’s Economy Committee said: 
“It’s no great secret that oil and gas revenues have been mismanaged by successive incompetent UK governments over decades – treating Scotland’s oil industry as a cash cow through the good years, but barely lifting a finger to help during the recent downturn.
“Just last month, the IPPR pointed out that the UK government had squandered £500 billion of oil and gas revenues.

“With a steady oil price, the oil and gas sector is once again set on an upward trajectory.

“Scotland is a wealthy country even without oil and gas, but the revenues from such a valuable national resource cannot be put towards covering the cost of Tory tax cuts for the very richest in our society – they should be invested wisely for future generations.

“The best way to ensure that happens it to take these powers out of the hands of Westminster altogether – devolve them to Holyrood and let us properly steward, rather than squander, Scotland’s natural resources.”

The price of benchmark Brent crude closed in London last night at just under $80-barrel – its highest for three and a half years.

24 May 2018



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