Petroleum ‘good for another 50 years’

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The economy will be petroleum driven for decades to come, with higher returns than previously estimated, an oil and gas conference has been told.

About 24 billion barrels could still be taken from the North Sea, with more than half the financial value still to come, the conference in Edinburgh heard. First Minister Alex Salmond, who gave the keynote address, put the potential wholesale value at £1 trillion.

Representatives of major organisations, including Shell and BP, gathered again 40 years since coming together in Aviemore to discuss the opportunities from offshore discoveries.

Looking to the next 40 years, the conference heard optimistic projections for oil and gas extraction, revenue and industry lifespan.

Malcolm Webb, chief executive of industry body Oil and Gas UK, said: “Call me a wide-eyed optimist if you like, but I remain of the view that [prospects] will be … good for another 50 years or more.”