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Wings Over Scotland

The sunshine underground

Posted on December 04, 2013 by

When it comes to oil and gas, Scots are used to being treated like backwoods yokels by Westminster, deemed incapable of looking after this valuable resource and lied to about its value. Oil and gas is a priceless treasure to the UK, and Westminster is terrified of losing control of it.


That’s because not only are the billions of pounds in oil and gas tax receipts valuable in and of themselves, but they also halve the balance of payments deficit, thereby protecting the value of the pound.

But how exactly does Scotland turn oil and gas into money?

For a long time the exact value of the North Sea was shrouded in mystery, with Westminster even going as far as to create an artificial entity called ‘Extra-Regio Territories’ on the books (also including revenues from overseas consular activities) which hid the value of oil and gas by removing it from Scotland’s accounts, replaced by the poor trade of a mere per-capita split of all “extra-regio” revenues.

The UK Government regarded these as special resources of the UK and not Scottish, despite the fact the oil and gas fields sit mainly in Scottish waters, are policed by Police Scotland and supported by infrastructure paid for by the rate payers and council tax payers of north-east Scotland without any financial support from Westminster to recompense – despite Westminster reaping the rewards.

If you talk to a British politician they”ll often tell you that the oil and gas are ‘British’ as it was the UK that invested to create the industry. However, the bulk of support given to the industry was in the form of tax breaks which allowed private companies to offset setup costs against future tax payments.

In other words, the UK government spent nothing and got increased long-term revenue by merely promising they’d let companies off some of the tax on their profits, if they made any. It’s similar to the recent situation when the UK government made great play of a £130m “loan guarantee” to help secure the future of the Grangemouth oil refinery (actual expenditure: zero), while the Scottish Government came up with £9m of real live hard cash.

Despite these tax breaks, oil and gas has been very lucrative for the UK Treasury, with a significant amount of money being garnered through various taxes and levies:

PRT – Petroleum Revenue Tax 

This tax is only relevant to fields developed before March 1993. PRT was introduced in 1975 and applies to all fields on the UKCS (except those which had signed a sales contract with British Gas prior to 1st July 1975). At the year 2000 the rate of PRT was 50% of field profits, with numerous deductible items to reduce the headline cost.

Corporation Tax 

Corporation Tax (CT) for oil and gas production is ring-fenced and treated differently from normal CT which is currently sitting at 26% (and is being reduced by the Westminster coalition to a final goal of 20%). Oil and gas CT is currently 30%, and there’s no plan to change it. (Although to be fair, PRT is deductable from profits before calculating CT.)

Supplementary Charge 

The UK government also charges what is known as a supplementary charge which currently sits at 32% of profit (again after PRT). Only a few short years ago the SC stood at a much more modest 20% until George Osborne decided to undertake a raid on the oil and gas industry, leading to mature and brownfield sites becoming financially unviable, damaging production and jobs in the industry.

Just how significant this effect was became clear in an analysis by Professor Alex Kemp and Linda Stephen. The two Aberdeen University professors suggested that as a result of Westminster’s raid on the oil industry, there could be 79 (or 8%) fewer fields developed, and £29 billion less investment over the next 30 years.

Overall this tax regime means that the marginal tax rate on the older PRT-paying fields is now an eye-watering 81% and on newer fields not paying PRT, 62%. It is these taxes and levies that have ensured Scotland consistently contributes more to the UK Treasury than our fair share.

Despite being “a goose that lays a golden egg”, Scotland never seems to get its own nest feathered – the No camp is fond of noting that Scotland gets £1200 more per head in spending than the UK average, but always neglects to mention that this is only around 70% of the extra £1700 each that we send south to serve the “greater good”.

The insatiable maw of London also led Westminster to refuse to fund infrastructure necessary to grow the industry and attract investors, such a a gas pipeline that would have created 17,000 jobs and a chemical plant at Nigg had it gone ahead. More recently it was also revealed that the UK government had blocked oil and gas exploration off the west coast to preserve Trident nuclear submarine manoeuvres.

Had Scotland been independent upon discovering oil, it would never have needed to incur any debt. Instead of paying 8.4% of the UK’s debt interest every year (totalling £64.1bn over the last 32 years, and £4.2bn this year alone), Scotland would have been in surplus – indeed, a “chronic” surplus, according to the suppressed McCrone Report – and very likely in possession of a sizeable oil fund to protect against fluctuations in price.

But of course that’s all water under the bridge now – we can’t turn back time, only make the best of what we have left. As we saw previously, Scotland’s share of offshore tax revenue sits at 94% due to the prevalence of oil production (which is more profitable than gas). This means that 94% of the revenues from oil and gas would accrue to an independent Scottish government.

That’s still a significant amount of money by anyone’s standards, with the Scottish Government putting exports of oil, gas and refined petrochemical products at an estimated annual sales value of £30.3bn, with a bonus of £17.2bn in sales of support services to the oil and gas industry being recorded in 2011 for a combined value to the Scottish economy of almost £50bn a year.

That’s almost a third of Scottish total GDP, and with such reliance on a single industry Unionists regularly raise the spectre of what happens when oil runs out. But if Scotland stays in the UK, it’s unlikely that Westminster will use the remaining revenues to rebalance the Scottish economy to plan for a post-oil world. Frankly, it can’t afford to and still pay for Trident, HS2 and cuts to bankers’ taxes.

An independent Scottish Government, however, could reasonably be expected to urgently prioritise such a task, in particular focusing on investment in renewables to secure the future of both the energy supply and the economy forever.

Scotland is one of only two nations in the world to discover oil and not create an oil fund (the other being Iran). But it’s still not too late, if we take control of North Sea revenues now, to build a roof to protect ourselves from the rainy days to come.

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    108 to “The sunshine underground”

    1. handclapping says:

      When you set it out as starkly as that, Scott, Whitehall can not, are not going to, let us get away easily. Blair M and Ali D will be defenestrated soon and we will be lovebombed a la Canada / Quebec with lots of dirty tricks in the voting department to make sure.

    2. Fergie 35 says:

      Scottish oil has gone to the Brit government to buy nuclear weapons and subs and to prevent bankruptcy, if Scotland votes to be a nation it is catastrophic for London, hence the media manipulation for a no vote.
      When I first worked in Norway I could not believe how a country can be so wealthy, and realised how backward the UK is in management, social care, quality of life, engineering projects.. infact backward in every way from Norway.
      Scotland can still be like Norway, and we should use Norway (Sweden and Finland) as our role model(s).

    3. MajorBloodnok says:

      I usually refer to Finland as a role model because it has one of the highest GDP in Europe, has more or less the same population as Scotland and it doesn’t even have oil.  So it just shows what small nations can do.

    4. MochaChoca says:

      @Scott, nice comprehensive article,

      2012-13 HMRC disaggragated stats put offshore revenues at £6.53bn with Scotlands geographical share at £5.15bn. This is only 79% which seem very much at odds with the 94% stated in your article and by various other sources.

      Do you think HMRC know something we don’t, or are they trying to pull a fast one?

    5. Papadocx says:

      How many countries have discovered vast quantities of oil and given it away For others to spend the proceeds. We get the crumbs off the table and are PROUD to have been robbed blind. To stupid, they may have a point! Can we afford to be British any longer. 
      When your daft your the last one to find out!

    6. balgayboy says:

      Worked in the oil & gas industry all over the  world for over 35 years and have witnessed how countries with a lot less basic potential in many many ways than our Scotland have progressed   since the black gold has been discovered.
      If only our undecided voters can only grasp the opportunity that is their if they can find their self esteem and courage.

    7. MochaChoca says:

      The OBR have already admitted Oil price prediction is impossible, so have chosen a ‘magic number’ which suits the Westminster agenda and are working backwards to create the illusion of a ‘forecast’ with this endpoint. They only have to maintain this strategy until September next year.
      Nov’10: OBR predict 2013-14 oil price of $87/barrel (marginal rise thereafter)
      Nov’11: OBR predict 2013-14 oil price of $101/barrel (then falling $3-4 per year)
      Dec’12: OBR predict 2013-14 oil price of $106/barrel (then falling $4-5 per year)
      Mar’13: OBR predict 2013-14 oil price of $113/barrel (then falling $4-7 per year)
      In 2010 OBR were 25% out on a three year prediction. Despite prices remaining stable coming on for 3 years, with each publication the OBR forecast a steeper decline leading to a $90-93 price point in 2017-18, indicating a deficit scenario in Scotland’s early years of independence.
      BTW their next forecast is due out tomorrow.

    8. Les Wilson says:

      Due these facts it makes clear just how the Union does not serve Scotland, probably never has. However, it is very clear and indeed will be clearer in the near future of just what lengths they will go to, not to keep us under their wing not to protect and improve our lives. Simply to steal our resources, that really is it, in a nutshell. Something very many of us have known for a very long time.

      They will do ANYTHING to prevent the loss of our assets. We need to get angry and more assertive in getting our message across with dedication and passion, we need to stir the hackles of our population so THEY know the truth, get their sense of injustice come to the front at September 2014. 

      We need to all get out there and mobilise, feet on the ground and start convincing, we need to do it now.

    9. Eco_Exile says:

      Scotland is the only nation to discover oil and be poorer as a result.

    10. Ken500 says:


      Westminster squandered Scottish Oil and left Scotland without infrastructure and in relative poverty. It is appalling what Westminster Unionists have done. The McCrone Report etc. Without people in Scotland having any redress. At last people in Scotland are realising the corruption and manipulation of Westminster.

      The UK Treasury has just taken funds specifically given for Scottish farmers who get the lowest CAP payments in the EU as part of the UK. The UK gov wanted the CAP reduced. In the negotiations Scotland was awarded increased funding. The UK gov took the funding and redistributed it to wealthy Tory farmers in the south. The UK Farming minister then made a statement, to add insult to injury, about better and stronger together. The gall of these people.

      The Scottish MEP’s should, if they are able, bring it up in the EU Parliament.

    11. balgayboy says:

      Worked in West Africa in country’s when I arrived there never had a B road status to put it mildly, by the time I moved on the same country had motorways that would put Scotland’s roads to shame considering we had the same asset 30 years longer.
      Got to see it to understand what a shambles we have allowed ourselves to be in.

    12. Ken500 says:

      Thatcher cancelled a Pipe line wasting the equivalent of £Billions of Gas. One of her Ministers resigned because of her actions.

      Thatcher shut down coal mines. Now coal is cheaper than Gas.

    13. MajorBloodnok says:

      Don’t worry, it’s the wrong kind anyway and virtually worthless (according to the OBR).

    14. MochaChoca says:

      If we vote NO we are basically saying that we are One Nation, Better Together, UKOK, whatever and thus our public spending should be brought into line with average UK levels, and why not?

      In fairness would anyone really expect the rest of the UK to turn a blind eye to higher levels of public spending up here when austerity for them is here to stay?

      Afterall our on-shore revenues are close to parity with the rest of the UK, and we’ll be endorsing the system that makes oil and gas ex-regio and therefore classed as a UK resource, so why should anyone even complain?

    15. Illy says:

      Any chance you could find some before and after photos?  They could be made into a decent poster for demonstrating just how much Westminster has squandered Scottish Oil and Gas.

    16. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Great article Scott.
      I’m just wondering about ulterior motives when anyone discusses Westminster and Scottish oil. Not ulterior motives of the person themselves you understand but ulterior motives of Westminster. They, Westminster, have been telling us from the mid 1970’s that our oil is running out and yet we keep find more and developing new ways of extracting what there is left under the North Sea. This is something Westminster obviously never thought would be possible back in the 1970’s.
      However there is a highly probable alternative source of Scottish oil revenue that has, until now been left untapped. I am referring to the oil fields off the coast of Arran and the West coast of Scotland. Could it be that, through the blocking of these explorations/field openings by the M.O.D. Westminster is saving these fields for some future use when they can redefine these waters as British not Scottish waters?

    17. Jimbo says:

      “… and with such reliance on a single industry Unionists regularly raise the spectre of what happens when oil runs out.”
      What happens when the oil runs out? A NO voter asked me that question last week.
      I told her that we’ll be in the very same situation as we are now. That as things stand, all oil revenues go to Westminster and are used to pay for Westminster vanity projects, wars, bombs and posturing on the world’s stage, and that we see none of that money returned here – That, in actual fact, we pay more to the treasury than we get out.
      I explained to her that only London outdoes Scotland in terms of finances raised in the UK. That Scotland has been in surplus for years, and to look on the oil as Scotland being given a multi billion pound bonus every year for at least 50 years that can be put aside for a rainy day.

    18. Papadocx says:

      There are credible reports of huge hydrocarbon deposits right down the Atlantic shelf of Scotland on shore and off shore. There are potentially large scale shale deposits across the old coal mining areas of central Scotland. Ineos Grangemouth would be in the perfect position to process this shale gas.
      If HMG just keep using the term North Sea oil they avoid letting the cat out of the bag regarding the actual reserves as yet untapped. They can plead ignorance and avoid a game winner for independance.  nobody asked about anything other than North sea oil they will say.
      oil companies are extremely secretive about their survey results, after all they cost a lot of money. Also reserves that technically were very difficult to exploit 20 years ago are now standard procedures, when they want to exploit them. 

    19. Ken500 says:

      2012/13 Oil revenues are down because of the 2010 Budget when Osbourne/Alexander increase the Oil taxes (£2Billlion) to 61%. The Oil companies stopped investing and cut back Projects. They have started investing again and there were record licences given out recently. The UK Treasury also gets the income from the licences etc.

    20. alexicon says:

      Maybe the unionists’ are aware of new technics than can garner more oil from exisisting wells.
      A billion more barrels seemingly.

    21. Ken500 says:

      The Oil & Gas Producers Association have confirmed there will be Oil reserves for the next 50 years ( and beyond?, they always give conservative estimates). There is a need for 118,000 workers in the NS Oil sector. Unemployment in Scotland is 200K. Unemployment in Scotland could fall, along with welfare bill.

    22. MajorBloodnok says:

      And that ‘dip’ induced by Osborne’s tax changes is now the ‘trend’ that the OBR uses to justify its downward projections (which are also handy for justifying cuts to welfare, pensions and other ‘asterity’ meaures, but will be coincidentally ‘readjusted’ just in time for some income tax cuts prior to the next General Election).

    23. Ken500 says:

      There is a link to Derek Bateman blog from this site.

    24. Ken500 says:

      The Oil/Gas revenues halved in 2008 because of the Recession, they fell world wide (once in a century occurrence). The could be still using these figures. The industry was just recovering, when Osbourne/Alexander dealt a second blow. Imbeciles. Tax evading Multinationals in the City of London, not paying tax. HMRC not fit for purpose.

    25. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      Sookin it Oot – I know we have enough combined Oil and Gas offshore/onshore experience on this forum to be able to explain to the ordinary folk just how the economics work.
      To the ordinary man on the street when quoting Barrels, CubeM and Gallons worth billions or trillions over a time period their eyes glaze over and a self induced coma quickly follows. Believe me I have tried to be simplistic with many and the discussion inevitably comes back to this:
      An American/Canadian or French Oil Company use an American/Canadian/French drilling rig to make a 3mile hole in the Scottish seabed, put a production platform on top or an unmanned pumping station and then siphon of gazillions of gallons of black stuff into a pipeline or a ship/tanker.
      Simplistic questions – What happens now? Gazillions of gallons in a pipeline or on a big tanker. Where does it go? Somebody must buy it and who determines the price? Where do the tax revenues accruing to this ship load of oil come into the equation. How do these taxes accrue to Westminster and how will they ultimately be accrued to the SG in due course?
      Anybody wanna have a stab at that? Now remember this is for the ordinary Joe Soap who has not got a scooby about spot markets and volatile emissions. 🙂

    26. Murray McCallum says:

      Very informative article Scott.
      Thank God we Scots have not discovered vast amounts of gold deposits thus far as its price has fallen significantly in the last year. We just have to suffer with being the EUs largest oil producer.
      Alistair Darling and George Osborne’s reliance on (and championing of) the City of London demonstrates their warped view that the City is a more valuable and less volatile asset. This must be down to the UK economy and sentiment being largely driven by rising London house prices?

    27. alexicon says:

      Ken500 says:
      4 December, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      The Oil & Gas Producers Association have confirmed there will be Oil reserves for the next 50 years ( and beyond?, they always give conservative estimates). There is a need for 118,000 workers in the NS Oil sector. Unemployment in Scotland is 200K. Unemployment in Scotland could fall, along with welfare bill.

      Ken that estimate is based on the existing fields. I seen the P&J business section yesterday that the majors are moving into the West coast in a big way now.
      O/T. More welcome news for the SNP.
      It is still trickling!

    28. Horacesaysyes says:

      Good article, Scott.
      And the question at the end ‘what happens when it runs out’ is one that concerns me, but only if we have a no vote, as I certainly would trust any Westminster government to properly prepare Scotland’s economy for that day.

    29. Illy says:

      To answer: “What happens when the oil runs out?”
      We’ll have been steadily building up our offshore wind and tidal power generation facilities, so we’ll be one of the largest energy producers in Europe.
      Oh, Westminster aren’t interested in doing that?  I guess we’d be screwed then!

    30. Papadocx says:

      After a NO vote Westminster will have 40 years to plunder the wealth of Scotland and re jig the laws to make sure we can never get off our knees. They will get the BBC, press etc. to tell us and keep reminding us how lucky we are to have London looking after us mentally challenged peasants. With friends like that who needs enemies, a nasty nasty self serving bunch with their native levies to do the dirty work, THE UNIONIST LEVIES SLAB, LIBS AND TOLLIES
      Aye to stupid. Hope not

    31. Murray McCallum says:

      Until David Cameron mentioned it in a formal speech during his visit to China, I never realised people actually “dig” oil rigs. Hats off to the energetic riggers saving money on expensive machinery. They must have incredible lungs too.

    32. Ken500 says:

      The West expansion is restricted by Faslane. Along with commercial activity on the Clyde? Thatcher.

      Norway builds liners and supply boats. 100 ships were built in Norway in 2012. Many were Oil supply boats commissioned by Oil Companues, for work in the Scottish sector of the North Sea.
      There is no way Norway could build them cheaper than Scottish yards.

    33. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      “Simplistic questions – What happens now? Gazillions of gallons in a pipeline or on a big tanker. Where does it go? Somebody must buy it and who determines the price? Where do the tax revenues accruing to this ship load of oil come into the equation. How do these taxes accrue to Westminster and how will they ultimately be accrued to the SG in due course?”
      On the platform there are what are known as ‘Custody Transfer Metering Stations’. These meter the oil and gas as it passes ‘ownership’ from one entity to another.
      Oil flowing onto a tanker bound for elsewhere is metered at the platform and the figures are used in tax allocation and DECC figures. If going into a pipeline, the oil is metered as it enters and as it leaves.
      Say for instance Dana want to use a BP pipeline  then Dana get the metering done by a third party to prove the quantity and quality/composition of the oil they are putting in the pipeline. BP wouldnt just take it on faith.
      At the other end BP get a third party to confirm that Talisman get back the correct (equivalent value) of product. Again, Talisman wouldnt just take it on faith.
      This system will not change on independence. All companies must have custody transfer metering / fiscal metering if the oil changes hands.
      As far as price goes, that is generally set by the market and priced in $dollars.
      That will also not change.

    34. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Switched Dana to Talisman there but you get the point.

    35. Macart says:

      Nice one Scott.
      A bonus though, not the reason, but a bonus is what we should take from this. This resource can do so much for us if stewarded correctly. Oil is a finite resource and 40 odd years worth is a fecking good contribution to the UK project so far, I’d say. We’ve paid our dues and then some with what to show for it? We’ve read of regret for no oil fund from the likes of Healey and Kinnock and so far as we are aware no current or future UK government will commit to correcting this huge error, probably too busy spending the cash hand over fist on vanity projects and punching above their weight.
      For however long it lasts, however much is left, the remainder must be put to better use on behalf of the electorate. Bairns not bombs.

    36. john king says:

      “Do you think HMRC know something we don’t, or are they trying to pull a fast one?”
      I’ve said it all along when the real truth comes out i’ll make the lend lease repayments look like sweetie money, they’ll be paying us back for centuries.

    37. MajorBloodnok says:

      Scott Minto says: Oil flowing onto a tanker bound for elsewhere is metered at the platform and the figures are used in tax allocation and DECC figures.
      Must be a hell of a lot of Nectar points when the tankers fill up.

    38. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    39. Another London Dividend says:

      Breaking News
      The Tory led NO campaign is falling apart as Edinburgh Labour Councillor Alex Lunn has defected to the SNP as he supports a YES vote next year.

    40. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Scott – Thanks for that reply and despite my 15years offshore I had never heard of Custody Transfer Metering Stations but it makes good sense.
      Now I am sure you are aware that many different companies send their oil down the pipeline from near Cruden Bay through the length of Scotland to Grangemouth. Using your Custody Transfer Metering model how are the revenues allocated to each company who are adding to the bigger mix?
      So just to simplify and enlighten me, DECC will be informed of barrels pumped and the appropriate tax department within the Government will then be informed and a tax bill sent to the Accounting Department of that company to pay up?

    41. macdoc says:

      One thing that worries me is that in the last financial year Scotland contributed 9.9% of total public taxation getting 9.3% back. This was thanks to oil from the north sea where up to 10.5 billion was generated in Scotland. 

      Next year if oil revenues are halved and our oil contributions will be much less giving us much poorer GERS figures. When these are released in April then the unionist media will go in overdrive about our figures being relatively worse off than the UK. 

    42. Robert Louis says:

      Excellent article Scott.
      It is laughable how unionists say, ‘oh…but the oil is running out’.  By definition, the oil has been ‘running out’ since the first drop came to the surface.
      The oil will eventually run out in forty or so years either in or out of the union.  The difference is, that with independence, Scotland will have the forty remaining years of money, instead of it going straight to London.
      How anybody can possibly argue that Scotland is better off giving its oil wealth away to London, with a straight face, is beyond me.

    43. Clarinda says:

      I see that Mr Cameron’s trip to China has already clinched the export of another natural resource to make up for the deficit left behind on losing oil and gas income – may I announce Pig Semen.  Yes folks, £45 million’s worth of the precious stuff along with thousands of pig trotters as a boost to the Chinese gourmet tables.  £45 million – that’s a lot of little piggies isn’t it?

    44. Luigi says:

      It is worth mentioning that Norway is far more dependent on oil revenues than an independent Scotland would be.
      Yet, I don’t hear Norway pleading to reinstate the old union with Sweden, on account that this limited, volatile resource will run out soon.  Strange!

    45. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ MajorB – I thought you had been deported to Uganda? What are you doing here and how many Pink Stamps or Nectar points are in a barrel of oil? 0000.1p per litre? Ha ha answer that one before you run away to warmer climes,

    46. Bunter says:

      Was Iraq not the only other country not to have an oil fund, though I might have got that wrong.

    47. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @Archie [not Erchie]
      Tax is paid on production from the platforms.
      If you own the platform 100% then you pay 100% of the tax on profits for that installation.
      Once its in a pipeline its only custody porposes for which you are interested in metering rather than tax – since the tax will be based on production on the platform. 
      If there are more than one owner on a platform the split of the oil and gas sales revenues is calculated based on the allocation agreement between the parties – i.e. the various parties own various stakes in each of the wells/platforms. Engineers then allocate the % of production to each party based on their share according to the allocation agreement.
      HMRC and DECC have access to this and can confirm produced volumes and quality allocated to each party.
      Then the Hydrocarbon Accountants get into the mix…
      They take the oil and gas production and composition figures and work out exactly how much the company is going to make on that oil in real money terms.
      Each party then pays tax on their profit from their share of produced oil and gas – less any tax deductible items.
      The system wont alter under independence. It will just have a Scottish Tax and Energy department to deal with.

    48. chalks says:

      As far as the GERS figures go that will come out in March…..the figures are down due to a government, we didn’t elect, doing a tax raid on our resources…..this would not have happened if independent and that will be the line adopted.
      It’s a perfect example of why we need to be in control of our own resources.

    49. desimond says:

      Archit (not Erchie)
      The system wont alter under independence. It will just have a Scottish Tax and Energy department to deal with.

      So it will be STED eh, as we go 🙂

    50. desimond says:

      @Archie [not Erchie]

      No idea why but it wouldnt even let me edit my Archit typo…apols

      Desimint 🙂

    51. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      There is an ample supply of Westminster MP’s queuing up, Hustler Magazine in hand, to fill that virtual void.
      As a medical person, I am sure you understand.

    52. Bubbles says:

      Oh, I do like the Chemical Brothers reference. Very clever Stu.

    53. macdoc says:

      I’m aware that Osbourne’s tax on the oil industry is what caused the huge reduction in oil revenue. But will the British media report it that way?
      It will all be about volatility, running out, subsidy, debt etc. 

    54. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      It may not be as high as at present but Scotland should still be outperforming the UK as a whole.
      We need to push home the message that this is EVEN AFTER the highly damaging raid on North Sea Oil by Westminster & we cant let their mis-management ruin another years revenues.

    55. chalks says:

      Does it really matter what is reported?  The reporting habits of the MSM will not change, we are winning the ground war whilst spreading the message online. 
      Besides it’s literally an open goal for us when it comes up, brings the issue to a head once again and we will get our message out there.  No fear ; )

    56. ronnie anderson says:

      And again Scott, you open a can of worms, another story for the SNP newspaper ,& far wider if only MSN would pick up on it, we need to be more forceful in getting our voices heard

    57. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Desimint? – Smiling away here Desimond. Took me a moment but Sted eh is quite good.
      @ Scott – Thanks for your replies and they have simplified a somewhat grey area for me and I am sure for others. I will not ask about ‘tax deductibles’ as I fear glazing of the eyes but it would be fair to assume that a barrel of oil produced at 40dollars and sold at 110dollars is 70dollars profit less tax of which a portion is offset.

    58. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Sorry for going O/T here but this sort of thing really pisses me off.
      Here we have service men and women putting their lives on the line day in, day out and yet the MOD can’t be earsed fitting a commercial off the shelf TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) to their bloody aircraft inb order to save lives!
      Don’t worry though the MOD have developed a Tornado TCAS that will become operationally capable by the end of next year claim the MOD.
      I hope all the Tornado aircrews will be able to avoid any mid air crashes like the July 2012 crash costing the lives of three of the four aircrew until their brand new, quadruple the commercial price, specifically MOD designed TCAS system is installed. with a wee bit of luck this system will not follow all other MOD projects and be delayed indefinitely.

    59. macdoc says:

      Scott and Chalks
      Hopefully you are right. But saying 9.9% versus 9.3% was a very nice figure to present. It illustrates perfectly to people who believe we cannot cope. 

    60. MochaChoca says:

      @Macdoc @Scott @Chalky
      Most of the figures from which the GER report are based are already available, but I’ve not seen anyone collate them as yet into the GERS headline percentages we usually see.
      Scott has hit the nail on the head though, the figures don’t look to be as strong in our favour as the previous years, but still in relative surplus compared to the UK as a whole. So even in a ‘bad’ year for oil revenues we do well.
      I’d actually expect the forthcoming (and possibly last) edition of the GERS report will also include a comprehensive section on how the figures will tie in with independence, costs and benefits of tranfering departmental functions to Scotland that we don’t already have, savings in defence spending etc
      The fact is, our ‘budget’ in 2012-13 was £61.861bn, but only £53.944bn is identified as spending in Scotland or on Scotland’s behalf, the other £7.917bn is unidentified so is just attributed to us on a population share basis. How much of that we actually need to spend is for the experts to decide. But rest assured, if all of our taxes are spent in Scotland rather than being shipped south our economy will flourish.

    61. chalks says:

      I’d imagine we still get less back than what we make…..we have done for the past 30 years

    62. The Penman says:

      For the average lad/lass in the street, analogies are king when explaining concepts or technical details.
      So, if you think there’s treasure buried in my back garden, then I’ll let you dig it up with a JCB – but you need to get your own JCB at your own expense, and give me half of the cash value in GBP£ of anything you find, since it’s my house. And it’s definitely my garden, not my neighbour’s because the legal boundaries to my land are well defined by someone else (my lawyer in the title deeds). 

      Wait, how do we know the random crap you dig up is worth anything? Well, we’ll call in an independent jeweller (who is the one who can ultimately sell the stuff in his shop) for a valuation before you leave my place with the treasure. He comes with a cost, of course, but not to me since you’re the one wanting to dig. I just want to know the value of the goods and hence what I get to keep. 

      Now, remember – if I sell my house and move out, then you have to make a deal with the new owner of the house if you want to keep digging. She might demand you only use spades, or give her 60% instead of half. But it doesn’t change the supply chain of dig-value-sell-tax; only the owner of the house and garden that benefits from your digging.

    63. MajorBloodnok says:

      @The Penman
      I think I remember that one from Brookside.

    64. desimond says:

      @The Penman.. excellent!

      I see that The homeowner wants to go travelling the world on his own but has just been told its best if he stays in the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. He isnt fond of it as it seems to take a helluva lot in fees and uses a very patronising tone when it actually lowers itself to discuss anything

      Readers…What should the homeowner do?

    65. cjmasta says:

      How many Scot’s have died in the gutter due to Westminster’s greed and lies. These people care not for us or our children who grow up in some of the worst poverty in Europe. I agree with one of the comments above, we need to be on the street with passion and anger to a degree that we have been treated like this from a bunch of self serving b’*tards

    66. KenC says:

      Off-topic, but this spittle-flecked lunacy is so bizarre I find it hard to believe that it was published- even by the Telegraph!

    67. creigs1707repeal says:

      @Scott Minto
      Scott, you mention that for every £1 Scotland presently send to Westminter Treasury, we receive only 70p back in the block grant. If Scotland’s budget is further cut by £4bn after Barnett is scrapped, how would that further reduce that 70p we get back from Westminster?

    68. Andy-B says:

      Good piece Scott.
      Thanks for raising my blood pressure, and making me grumpy at teatime.
      I just hope that undecided Scots get a chance to read this, and see Westminster for what it is.

    69. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Penman – You robbin barsteward. You expect me to pay for the valuer, the JCB which incidentally has gone up in price. What are your outgoings you torag? I am taking all the risks. You gonna put a supervisor onsite to make sure am not ripping you off?
      Well from now on if you want my expertise in digging then you pay me the daily rent for the JCB and point me towards your good bits.
      You know there’s hidden treasure in your garden coz you paid for a mental detector man to survey so stop greetin.
      You still want 50% of what is found but my 50% is reducing by the dirtload. Seems like you win no matter which way it goes.

    70. Robert Kerr says:

      I was shown round the oil plant for the Tengiz field in Kaz when I arrived there just after the Soviets went home. Part of the tour was to the LACT meter (License Area Custody Transfer). It was a displacement meter (rotating bucket) and clicked each rotation. I was asked if I knew what the noise was. I said nothing. 
      “It’s money, boy, money” I was told.
      Wake up people and smell the oil.

    71. Mary Bruce says:

      A random question, just out of curiosity: does anyone know what all the oil that has been extracted so far looks like? eg, a million olympic sized swimming pools, Loch Ness? I have no idea. Just being curious.
      Also, does anyone have a graphic that shows a map of the UK, with the location of where the better together/yes supporters are located (eg, with tories, labour, libdems, ukip, BBC, MSM all in London and with SNP, SS, SG, SDA, and all the online pages mostly in Scotland). It is for my son for school. I didn’t see anything on indy posterboy. He thinks it would have a good visual impact to get over the message that most of the No institutions are based in London. He is hoping to persuade people why they shouldn’t trust what they read/see on telly.
      And thanks for the twitter support, guys, hopefully will get time on there later.

    72. Andy-B says:

      The USA city of Detroit has been allowed to enter into bankrupcy, making it the largest public authority in US history to do, this will allow Detroit to shed it humungus $18 billion Dollar debt.
      A fate that could befall Scotland after its oil/gas are sucked dry by Westminster in the future, only a YES vote next year can completely rule that scenario out.

    73. Thepnr says:

      Nice article Scot.
      We should not forget either the value of the potential jobs and associated taxes that go along with these jobs. Four of the largest fields installed or under construction this year were all built overseas. Laggan Tormore, Elgin B, West franklin for Total and Clair B for BP. The only one built in the UK was Apache Forties which was built in Newcastle.
      When these platforms arrive in the UK they are counted as imports, hence worsening the balance of payments. Believe me they can’t be built cheaper abroad. If a new Independent Scotland invests in it’s industry the way Norway does then unemployment could be near zero.
      Only a Scottish Government free of Westminster could make these choices.

    74. Dal Riata says:

      Terrific article once again Scott! I’ve learnt a lot from all the work you have produced. 
      The cover up, etc. of the west coast of Scotland having huge potential for oil extraction – who, or what, was the original source of this story being made public?

    75. Dorothy Devine says:

      I have just read a hideous piece n the DT by that wondrous Prof of peace – Gallagher.
      The article is bad enough but the comments below are incredibly worrying – I have no idea what happened to education south of the border but by Jove it needs fixing.

    76. mogatrons says:

      At 80 odd posts and not being the first to wander I reckon this O/T link will interest readers:
      another convert …. and from my old stomping ground too. 🙂

    77. TheGreatBaldo says:

      But as a critic of the SNP ever since I glimpsed in 2007 how Alex Salmond was prepared to radicalise Scottish ethnic minorities in order to create a power base among them
      Ah I see you’ve discovered Prof Tom…..he’s one of those highly intelligent academics who are the proverbial sandwich short of a picnic.
      The highlighted line is a theme he has come back to again and again……apparently wooing the Pakistani vote in Scotland is a clear and damning indication Eck is in league with Al Queda……with the ultimate aim of over riding Scots Law with Sharia law and  turning the land of whiskey into a Muslim Caliphate…..
      It seems to have completely escaped Prof Tom that bat shit crazy theories like this maybe why his fellow academics are loath to invite him to express an opinion…..
      It is amazing how many groups or individual paint their fears onto Alex Salmond and the SNP….
      I mean according to George Galloway et al the SNP is just a front for the Orange Order,
      According to the Orange Order they are in league with the Vatican and Gerry Adams…..
      According to the socialists he’s a secret Tory to the right of Thatcher….
      According to the Tories he’s a socialist who think’s Chairman Mao was a Neo Liberal sell out…
      The logical explanation that he’s a centre left Social Democrat & civic nationalist is, it appears beyond comprehension for them.

    78. Ronnie says:

      ‘turning the land of whiskey into a Muslim Caliphate…..’
      What has he got against Ireland, then?

    79. liz says:

      @KenC-  I glanced at the DT article and some of the comments below and it is shocking.
      The DKs and the No’s need to waken up.
      Because if we vote no they will despise us even more.
      I know they have been brainwashed by their own media but if comments like that appeared on a pro-Yes website we would be slated as being Anti-English bigots.
      Where do they get the idea that the AS is totalitarian?

    80. Peter says:

      As well as the news of potentially a hell of a lot more oil to come there was news of Westminster selling their, well our share of Eurostar and to use the money for some sort of national benefit fund. From what I saw it was mostly to benefit London and to dump a nuclear power plant in Wales, can a unionist tell us why we should vote no to deprive Scotland of the benefits of our resources which are used to subsidise the South East.

    81. Mary Bruce says:

      Regards our developing renewables industry, this just out:

    82. Seasick Dave says:

      Ken C
      Alan Cochrane and his missus must have been working a ghoster to write all these comments!

    83. Stuart Black says:

      Agreed Dorothy, the comments below are very disturbing, there is an extreme level of hatred and contempt being shown by the troops below the line.

      Also, what kind of academic makes a case for the SNP being totalitarian and then a few sentences later tells how some SNP MSPs voted against the gay marriage bill? How very totalitarian of them.
      Bradford’s not one of the top 200 universities, is it? Worrying…

    84. Ekindy says:

      @Thepnr 5.41.
      Where i work in Cathcart we are working on and completing a reasonable amount of pumps and associated equipment for some of those projects with Kraken work in design and early manufacture as well.

    85. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Oh, I do like the Chemical Brothers reference. Very clever Stu.”

      I was quite pleased with that one myself. Fix the roof while the sun’s shining, for anyone who didn’t get it 🙂

    86. Thepnr says:

      Glad to hear that some of the work for these £billion pound projects is being done in Scotland. Simple fact is though we could do a whole lot more.

    87. Thepnr says:

      I mentioned the yard in Newcastle building the Apache jacket and topsides, the yard is now known as OGN previously it was AMEC. There was a £25 million investment made to reopen this yard. The money came from Russia. What’s that all about?

    88. liz says:

      O/T just read a shocker on the rev’s twitter feed about powers being removed from the Scottish government concerning renewables after a vote in the HOL.,
      Labour and cons worked together
      This could be a plan to remove as many powers as possible before the vote in September 2014.
      Of course the BBC and the MSM will ignore it.

    89. Ken500 says:

      The Telegraph – what will they think of next? Laughed out loud.

      ‘The SNP Apparakchik think they own Scotland’ Are there no elections in Scotland?

      No wonder no one reads it.

    90. scaredy cat. says:

      Thanks Scott. Your articles are always excellent. I notice a number of WoS articles (old and new) being posted on facebook by a new group called Scotland’s Big Yes/No Debate. Lots of chat and questions from the undecided, which is good news.

    91. Donald Carthlan says:

      This may be O/T but the idea that Scotland will get more powers after a NO vote has been blown apart.

    92. Paula Rose says:

      If all that oil comes out the ground and gets used to fill up petrol tanks then in 40 years time no amount of money is going to fix the changes to the climate, is it?

    93. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Mary Bruce – Your questions have not been ignored. The first is fairly easy but the second is a lot harder. However I am working on it. Please be patient.
      @ Dal Riata – There was a topic here on WOS regarding the oil exploration in the Clyde Basin and it was also reported on NNS and other websites. I am danged if I can find the links but I am sure someone else will remember.

    94. Bill C says:

      Three points:
      1. North Sea oil will last at least another 50 years. Both my sons work in the industry and both have been told by their respective companies that 50 years is the projected lifespan. However, for the sceptics out there, visit Aberdeen, oil companies are investing billions in infrastructure all over the city. Westhill is like a klondykers mining camp, only difference is that it is buildings which are springing up rather than tents. Oil companies don’t invest like that unless there are billions to be made in profit.
      2. I was speaking to a chap at a YES meeting the other night. He was telling me that he worked on a rig off Barra in the seventies which was producing 10,000 barrels of oil a day. It produced for about a fortnight and was then shut down without any explanation. Another fellow explained that the Forth of Clyde is an exceptionally good area for submarine training, all to do with hot and cold spots in the water which makes it easy for the subs to hide from ships and aircraft. These areas are pretty rare, hence the need to use the Clyde estuary.
      3. Aberdeen has not seen a brown penny of oil money, the infrastructure around the city is almost Third World. ‘Oil Capital of Europe’? Some unionist is having a laugh!

    95. Brian Powell says:

      Tom Gallacher is,”researching a book on why Britain’s ability to avoid the internal conflicts which have marked continental Europe is disappearing“.
      In Britain this could be because of people writing articles like his in The Telegraph. Judging by the comments he is stoking conflict.
      Before he writes more he might spend time reading, Manual of Hate Speech, by Ann Weber. Council of Europe publication. He comes very close to using hate speech, again judging by the responses in the comments.
      The distortions and mis-information in his article look deliberate.
      Or I wonder if Tom Gallacher’s invective is caused by a realisation that all of his life’s work is being proved wrong by the SG.

    96. john king says:

      Bill C says
      ” Forth of Clyde is an exceptionally good area for submarine training, all to do with hot and cold spots in the water which makes it easy for the subs to hide from ships and aircraft. These areas are pretty rare, hence the need to use the Clyde estuary.”
      I think your talking about thermoclines 
      a thin layer of colder water than the water above and below it, 
      it acts like a blanket  , it in turn deflects sonar signals which can hide a submarine.

    97. Edward says:

      Just had a quick read of the DT article written by the moron that is Tom Gallagher. He is supposed to be an emeritus professor. Question is , emeritus professor of what exactly? He claims that “Alex Salmond has been giving a masterclass to foreigners on how Scotland ought to be treated. At the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, he rebuked Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish Prime Minister for showing ignorance by describing him as Scotland’s “President” and not First Minister and for daring to call Scotland a mere “region”‘ Gallagher is obviously ignorant of the fact that Scotland is a country

    98. stuart says:

      oil is not affecting the climate change or rather co2 is what you mean , just another tax they want to be implemented on us but thats a whole other discussion

    99. Craig says:

      Scott, if you would clarify this.

      There seems to be confusion about the Balance of Payments.

      An independent Scotland’s Balance of Payments situation will be counted separately from that of rUK’s.

      Scotland remaining in sterling will NOT improve rUK’s Balance of Payments situation.

      Our Sterling reserves will be ours, theirs will be theirs.

      Sterling would benefit if the Scottish economy remained in sterling, but is simply false and misleading for many in YES (not you) to refer to the benefit to the Balance of Payments. They should refer to the benefit to Sterling only, NOT to the Balance of Payments.

    100. MochaChoca says:

      I know what you mean, it’s a question that has crossed my mind before too. My understanding is that protection to the value of Sterling offered by Scotlands export economy is the benefit.
      But rUK will instantly become an major importing economy which to me sounds like they will immediately start exporting money, whereas we will immediately start importing money whether we are in a currency union or not.

    101. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      They are referring to a benefit in the balance of payments to a Sterling Zone as a whole… keeping the money inside the currency area thereby reducing reserves held outside the area and reducing the risk of mass selling and subsequent currency devaluation.

    102. Bill C says:

      “Thermoclines”, that’s them John. Apparently excellent for training in submarine detection.

    103. Craig says:

      MochaChoca & Scott,

      I think we agree on what is the actual case – the advantage would be to sterling only.

      The impression about Balance of Payments being given is false and misleading and should be corrected by YES. Unlike NO, we don’t want to peddle any misleading things.

      Scott, would Scotland have a Balance of Payments surplus or deficit with rUK?

    104. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Unsure. Would need to look into it, however the difference wouldn’t be drastic.
      On the other hand, letting the rUK suffer currency devaluation would damage joe public in rUK and also Scottish industry selling to rUK (as they would be more expensive suddenly).
      So in short to medium term BoP is secondary (in Scotlands eyes) to ensuring a stable trading partner relationship.

    105. Craig says:

      Scott, sterling makes sense for both Scotland and rUK in the short-medium term for trading and for settling the commitments that will arise on pensions, national debt etc.

      In the longer term, Scotland’s economy will be stronger and sterling will no longer be in Scotland’s interests.

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