Isn’t it misleading to lump oil with renewable energy and fishing waters as “Scottish national assets” (Perspective, 18 December)?
Already China is becoming a major influence through its state oil company’s buy-out of Nexen.
Importantly, this gives the Chinese company control of Buzzard oil field, one of the UK’s largest, bearing in mind that another major player in the North Sea is the Korea National Oil Company. It is noticeable that these are state-owned enterprises controlling a large slice of North Sea oil reserves.
Seemingly 95 per cent of global oil reserves are state-controlled, which presumably includes those state companies in the North Sea.
Isn’t the control of North Sea oil an issue that should be addressed whatever the referendum outcome?
Old Chapel Walk
I refer to the letters of Messrs Stevenson and Gray (17 and 18 December) on this subject of shale oil costs. The end of the shale oil industry in Scotland was not so simple. Firstly, the shale was becoming harder to mine as the seams deteriorated.
Secondly, the amount of oil obtained from the shale was also reducing significantly; for example, in its heyday it was possible to obtain around 140 gallons from a ton of shale. Towards the end the yield was around 30 to 40 gallons.
Then there was the increasing cost of mining the shale caused by the emerging strength of the National Coal Board because the wages of the shale miners had to be increased to keep up with their coal counterparts.
Finally, and this is where Mr Gray is wrong, the government of the day imposed a tax on each ton of shale oil of £5 which was the tax on imported oil at that time. I write this with some feeling since I worked in the industry during the 1950s.