Scottish independence: £1 trillion oil claim

MORE than a trillion pounds could be left in Scotland’s waters with enough reserves to last for 100 years, an industry body has claimed in a new report.

Reserves of oil and gas off Shetland remain untapped
Reserves of oil and gas off Shetland remain untapped

Scotland could be sitting on more than “double the amount of oil and gas reserves currently predicted”, the report from recruitment specialist said.

However, energy experts have cast doubt on the forecast, stating that the predictions could be over optimistic and are not backed up by enough evidence.

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Geological and oil and gas experts were cited in the report, which said the west coast of Scotland and Outer Hebrides and Shetland, has “remained largely untapped due to deep waters and difficult geological conditions”, with a potential value of more than £1 trillion.

The recruitment company said the findings were revealed after an investigation into the potential for future oil and gas extraction in Scotland. The report stated: “Current predictions of extensive untapped reserves of oil and gas could be underestimated by 100%. The West coast alone could provide oil and gas for at least 100 years with an estimated value of more than £1 trillion.

“The investigation also found over the next 10 years upwards of one million barrels a day could be pumped from the Atlantic Margins if more than £1.5 billion is invested to extract it.”

However, Paul de Leeuw, the director of Robert Gordon University’s, international oil and gas institute, claimed it was not possible to place a price on reserves until they had been extracted. He said: “Even if there is oil and gas there, it’s too early to go to valuation on it.

“It’s a little bit on the early side. Operating on the west of Shetland is an extremely difficult field and it will take a long time to develop. The first step has to be exploration and then you do the valuation.”

The findings were also challenged by Professor Dorrik Stow head of the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, who quoted in the report to back up its claims.

Prof Stow said: “It’s clutching at straws to suggest that sort of level and I’m surprised to be quoted in that context.”

A statement from Oil & Gas UK said: “What is finally recovered will depend entirely on how the industry and the governments both north and south of the Border work together.”