‘No’ campaign must stop talking down oil industry after greatrex gaffe

Marco Biagi

The anti-independence campaign is facing demands to stop talking down the oil & gas sector after Labour Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex falsely claimed that there were just 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) remaining.

In fact, UK Oil & Gas’s most recent economic report estimated that there are between 15 and 24 billion boe remaining – a figure also contained in the UK Government’s oil and gas industry strategy paper published last year.

Speaking on GMS yesterday morning, Tom Greatrex claimed that the Scottish Government had assumed “that there are 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent – which is more than 12 times the ONS estimate of the remaining value of UK oil and gas reserves”.

In 2007, Alistair Darling stated that “there are potentially more than 20 billion barrels of oil and gas still available” – but faced ridicule last year when he too claimed that the figures used by the Scottish Government was “12 times what the independent experts say”.

Commenting, SNP MSP Marco Biagi, who sits on the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:

“This woeful underestimate of the oil and gas reserves remaining in the waters off our coast is one that Alistair Darling previously faced ridicule for peddling on previous occasions.

“Why is it that the No campaign are so determined to do their best to talk down the oil and gas sector?

“The industry’s own estimated estimate that there are up to 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent remaining – which equates to a wholesale value of £1.5 trillion.

“But successive Westminster governments have squandered our oil wealth – and with Tom Greatrex Labour’s next choice for Energy Minister, the waste looks set to continue no matter which party is in power. Only a Yes vote in September will give Scotland a second chance to invest oil and gas for the benefit of the nation.

“I have written to him today pointing out the total error in what he stated on the radio this morning and have called on him to set the record straight by accepting the oil and gas industry’s estimates.”

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