Essential oil

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The Scottish voter is being 
offered a false choice in the 
referendum by the SNP.

The party is increasingly desperate to persuade people that there is some merit in dismantling the Union and creating a new state which will then apply to become a member of the EU.

However, the actual cost of dismantling the Union would run into billions, as would the cost of establishing new institutions.

Whose pockets would be plundered to pay for these?

The elephant in the room, 
of course, is oil. Scottish 
Nationalism was a tiny and ineffectual political movement until oil was discovered in the North Sea.

Although our reserves are a fraction of those held by Norway, the realities of the situation have been spun by the SNP to make a case, which is regarded as ironclad by its adoring and uncritical followers.

However, even at $100 a barrel, there are resources around Scotland that are still uneconomic.

Shetland would, most likely, retain its own oilfields, whether as part of the UK or on its own, amounting to around 25 per cent of the total.

Attaining 20-30 per cent extraction of a well’s reservoir is described as good by my senior contacts in the oil industry – and who would know better?

Over 30 years, that would total £1.25 billion worth of oil extracted a year and Scotland’s share would be the tax on the profits from that, not on the total.

A substantial amount? Indeed. Sufficient to base an entire national enterprise on it, or to create one, let alone two oil funds? No.

Dream on, Mr Salmond.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive

Edinburgh