IN THE very interesting letter submitted by Alex Orr (30 March), the figures he quotes cannot be disputed but the article falls short of the full picture. Contrary to his statement, the oil business is not booming – far from it, the £320 million investment announced by BP is a drop in the ocean as to what is required to develop fields that are becoming increasingly more difficult to extract the reserves from.
The other figure quoted was £14 billion investment by the operators for 2013; the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) blamed falling production and higher spending on offshore fields for the decline in tax revenue. Therefore, the amount invested won’t even allow those who operate in this tough business to stand still.
The OBR figures also laid bare the dangers of Scotland basing a long-term economic policy on a “source that is volatile and depleting”. In July 2012 an SNP spokesperson said: “Notwithstanding the continuing success of the oil and gas sector, Scotland has a broad tax base and is not overly reliant on North Sea revenues”. Possibly someone who knows what this broad tax base consists of would enlighten the people of Scotland who are expected to make an informed on the 18 September, 2014.