Figures on Scotland’s economic position which have shown a sharp increase in oil revenue have been hailed by politicians and industry leaders today.
The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland report (or GERS) for the period 2017/18 was published this morning and shows significant improvement in Scotland’s critical oil and gas sector.
Scotland’s public sector revenue was estimated at £59.6 billion in the report, with £1.3 billion of that figure from revenue relating to North Sea oil and gas.
That compares with just £266m in North Sea revenue in 2016/17.
Industry leaders and politicians welcomed the news, which shows that the sector is continuing to recover strongly from a steep fall in oil prices over the last several years.
Oil & Gas UK Upstream Policy Director Mike Tholen said: “This evidences the striking transformation of the UK’s oil and gas industry since the downturn.
“Improvements to operational efficiency, careful management of costs and a stable fiscal regime have ensured it is better placed to weather volatility in international oil markets. This golden formula must now be maintained as we look to maximise economic recovery.”
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse tweeted: “This is good news, & reflects better market conditions for the sector, but delighted also that by 2017/18 revenues from onshore economy also grew by £2 Billion (up 3.6% on 2015/16), reflecting investment in incl growth, innovation, infrastructure & export growth by Scottish Government and agencies.”
However Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said: “Here we have another reminder that the Scottish economy is still too focussed on oil and gas extraction instead of making the needed transition to clean and sustainable renewable sources of energy.”
The overall picture of the GERS report was one of improving Scottish finances, although the deficit even including oil revenues remains stubbornly high at £13.4 billion or 7.9 per cent of GDP.