Tory queries Salmond’s £1 trillion of oil claim

ALEX Salmond’s claim that oil and gas reserves yet to be recovered from the North Sea are worth £1 trillion was yesterday challenged by the head of Holyrood’s economy and energy committee.

The row came after Mr Salmond used a speech to oil and gas industry executives to say that 24 billion barrels could still be taken from the seabed, with more than half the financial value still to come and the reserves having a “wholesale value of a trillion pounds”.

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However, Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, the head of the Scottish Parliament’s economy and energy committee, said that previous claims made by the SNP about the strength of Scotland’s economy cast doubt on the £1tn prediction.

He said: “As it’s already come to light that the SNP claim that Scotland would be the sixth richest nation in the OECD is simply an assertion, we have to treat very cautiously any other claims made by the party about Scotland’s wealth or assets.”

Mr Salmond told the SCDI Oil & Gas conference, that the sector supports 200,000 jobs and had been “an enormous success”. He said: “Based on historical prices, we have extracted approximately £960 billion of oil and gas at 2011 prices. However, due to the increase in the value of oil, the actual value of the resource that’s left, as opposed to the quantity of the resource base, is more than one trillion pounds.”