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Ben van Beurden: "Stability and certainty" important for Scotland's oil industry


The debate centring on next year's Scottish independence referendum is starting to hot up with voices from the commercial public sector entering the fray.

The latest figure to state a very public opinion is Ben van Beurden, chief executive of oil giant Shell, who emphasised that the company wants Scotland to remain part of the UK.

Ben van Beurden remarks from the company's annual reception in London highlighted the importance of "stability and certainty" as he set out why the company wanted Scotland to stay with the UK.

Voting for independence

With voters in Scotland set to go to the polls on 18 September 2014 to decide the country's future, many people are asking for clear information regarding the potential outcomes of either a 'yes' or 'no' result.

This has led to a number of high profile business leaders stating their positions in recent weeks with speculation on what it will mean for UK oil and gas top of discussions. Many areas in Scotland are known for their contributions to the industry with a large amount of onshore and offshore reserves found here.

Prime locations such as Aberdeen are a real asset to the country and could completely change the fact of this sector should they become detached from the UK and instead be controlled entirely by an independent Scotland.

Fuel for thought

The revenues from the oil and gas industries play a large part in any calculations regarding the overall economy of a potentially independent Scotland. The importance of continued involvement from a company such as Shell was put into perspective by Mr van Beurden when he noted that "Shell has a long history of involvement in the North Sea – and therefore in Scotland – and we continue to invest more than a billion pounds there every year."

However a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said that the country would be happy to continue trading with such firms if they became an independent nation.

“An independent Scotland with full control of its economy and huge resources will offer an attractive and stable environment for businesses in the offshore and other sectors," they explained.

A recent Oil and Gas People poll revealed that 70% of oil workers planned to vote for independence but with more than half of oil and gas reserves still to be extracted from offshore areas around Scotland, the future of the industry is sure to have plenty more influence on the ballot.

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Image source: Shell Flickr

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