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Is the Scottish referendum impacting on North Sea oil and gas industry?


With only 3 months to go until the Scottish referendum, the oil and gas industry have had their say on September's landmark vote.

A study conducted by the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) have seen a split opinion on issues surrounding referendum. Here are the highlight figures from the report.

45% investment impact

In collaboration with the University of Strathclyde's Fraser of Allander institute, the AGCC found that 45% of the 700 firms surveyed said the referendum was impacting on their future plans and investment proposals, an increase from 38% a year ago.

38% say no difference

Despite 38% of businesses saying they did not believe the vote would make any real difference, 18% did say Scottish independence would be positive for the sector. 12% said it would be a negative move for the north sea oil and gas industry. The remaining 1/3 were on the fence suggesting it was difficult to see a clear view at this stage.

48% unsure of change

The Wood review has came under criticism in the report. The recommendations by oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood, which are to be fast-tracked by the UK government if the 'no' vote wins, were created with the intention of maximising the UK's offshore resources. 48% of firms however, said they were unsure whether the review would lead to significant change for the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

37% optimism reported

Research found that confidence was up amongst oil and gas firms about their future prospect on the UKCS. 37% felt more confident, more than double the number from 2013. This was further enhanced by the fact that 35% of respondents reported an upward trend in UKCS investment over the past 12 months.

70% employee support

The positive economic climate has meant firms are set to spend more on investment over the next 2 years regardless of the vote, with new markets, research and development and staff training the 3 major projects. Staff themselves have shown an overwheling 'yes' to independence, with 70% supporting the vote.

Speedy Process

Despite the oil and gas output in the North Sea dropping considerably since the late 90s, the fact that the price has remained relatively unchanged in 4 years bodes well for the future. Regardless of a yes or no vote, the UKCS still has a lot to give. And for the companies that are based there, they will certainly hope any constitutional change, if any, will be a speedy and effective process.

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia


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