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Could Scottish independence affect future investment in North Sea oil and gas?


There is a growing murmur within the oil and gas industry that the call for Scottish independence could affect future investment within North Sea oil and gas.

These claims have gained credibility after a report, published by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the fears and lack of confidence in the North Sea’s most profitable resource.

Below we have looked at why this is happening and how this could affect future investment in North Sea oil and gas:

Lack of information

One of the main concerns is the lack of confirmation, statement or discussion coming from the United Kingdom or within Scotland itself about the potential ramifications should independence become a reality. Due to this grey area the lack of information has caused concern within the oil and gas community and is already starting to affect the sector.

Developments stalled

The ramifications of a potential independence have already taken affect. Some future developments have already stalled due to the uncertainty surrounding the issue. £10bn worth of new projects – including £4bn wind farm plans – have recently been postponed. It is also worth noting that plans to develop a new oil field in the North Sea have stalled due to a lack of enthusiasm towards the current conditions. It appears that the growling lack of confidence towards the North Sea and future investment in its oil reserves, coincidentally, have emerged at a time of uncertainty in the future of Scotland’s ruling party.

Take large ownership

One thing is for certain though! If Scotland gains independence then they will be the lucky recipients of 90% of the oil resources in the North Sea, with an annual worth of somewhere between £6bn and £12bn. There are many who believe Scotland’s potential independence could affect future investment for the better. In a recent survey by NES Global talent, more than half of those questioned felt that independence could potentially create more jobs within the sector and a third agreed that further investment would appear.

Recruitment drive

98% of recruiters within the oil and gas sector are said to be looking to recruit in the next 12 months, with investment at a record high in 2013. Quite simply, there will be more investment throughout the world in this industry and future investment in North Sea oil and gas will continue to increase as fuel demand continues. 

As hydrocarbon output from the North Sea plunged by 14% last year; there are calls for concern within the whole of the oil and gas world about the future success and development in this part of the world.

However, as projects continue to be discussed and recruitment increases; the future investment within the North Sea may not depend on who runs the country but how oil and gas is used throughout the world and the trends it demands. Scottish independence may play no significant part at all as the oil and gas industry demands more attention in the political world. 


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