Chief Exec of Shell goes right into the Scottish separation melee – but Salmond and Ewing bat back

Ben van Beurden

The CEO of oil giant Shell has ‘dealt a blow’ to the campaign for Scottish independence by saying he would like it to remain part of the UK.

Speaking in London, Ben van Beurden – who came to his position in January – said that a vote for independence in the September referendum would introduce greater uncertainty into the North Sea oil industry – which is a ‘life blood’ source of income for Scotland and Shell.

In the same vein he also said that he wanted Britons to vote to stay in the European Union during any possible referendum in 2017.

van Beurden said:

“We’re used to operating in uncertain political and economic environments but, given a choice, we want to know as accurately as possible what investment conditions will look like 10 or 20 years from now.”

He continued:

“That’s the main reason we’re in favour of the UK maintaining its long-established place at the heart of the European Union: it provides greater investment stability and certainty.

“It’s for similar reasons that we’d like to see Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom,” he added.

“Shell has a long history of involvement in the North Sea — and therefore in Scotland — and we continue to invest more than a billion pounds ($1.67 billion, 1.21 billion euros) there every year.”

The Scottish polls are in September to choose whether or not to end a 300-year union with the rest of Britain.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, who heads the pro-independence Scottish National Party, insisted that his country could become an economic powerhouse despite all three of Britain’s three main political parties saying they will not let an independent Scotland retain the pound.

Energy Minister MSP Fergus Ewing said that he would meet Shell to discuss the future in the event Scotland elected to break all ties with the rest of the UK. 

He said:

“An independent Scotland with full control of its economy and huge resources will offer an attractive and stable environment for business in the offshore and other sectors.” 


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