The SNP has highlighted media reports showing that Norway’s oil fund is becoming so big that it may need to be managed differently – bringing into focus the stark contrast with Westminster’s squandering of North Sea oil revenues.
While Norway’s oil fund has soared to a value of £500bn, the UK is virtually alone among major oil producing countries in its damaging decision not to set up a savings fund. Despite this, the UK Government’s Energy Secretary just this week claimed that setting up an oil fund is not “such a good idea”. This is in contrast to Neil Kinnock admitting that not setting up an oil fund was a “massive lost opportunity” and David Steel saying it was a “major strategic error”.
Commenting, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine MSP Maureen Watt said:
“That Norway’s oil fund has grown so large while a series of UK Governments have squandered Scotland’s oil wealth over the last 40 years demonstrates the costs to Scotland of Westminster’s decision making.
“Successive Westminster Governments have used Scotland’s oil resources to prop up the Treasury’s finances rather than investing in the future. Of the major oil producing countries it is only the UK and Iraq that have failed to set up an oil fund.
“Whilst Norway has used their oil resources to transform their country – making them one of the most prosperous and fairest countries in the world – a series of UK Governments have squandered Scotland’s oil and instead built up debt of £1.2 trillion – equivalent to £20,000 per person.
“More than half the value of North Sea oil remains – up to 24 billion barrels with a potential wholesale value of up to £1.5 trillion. We must not let David Cameron and his cronies squander the remainder of this hugely valuable resource, but instead ensure it is used to benefit all of the people of Scotland. Because of the independence referendum Scotland has a second chance to steward oil and gas for the benefit of the nation – and follow Norway’s excellent example. We must grab that opportunity.”