As the vote on Scottish Independence looms even closer, an oil and has expert at the country’s prestigious University of Aberdeen has suggested that untapped resources could provide a second boom for the industry.
According to Professor John Howell – the Chair of Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen – major new old fields could exist to the west of Shetland and provide a lucrative opportunity for the industry.
Writing in Glaswegian newspaper, The Herald, Professor Howell said he would “not be surprised” if this region yielded a number of new discoveries to provide “a second major oil boom” for the country.
Professor Howell is not the only voice to suggest that untapped reserves could still be found around Scotland though. Over the bank holiday weekend, Oil and Gas UK announced that they anticipate there to be as much as 24 billion barrels of oil and gas to recover in the area.
The Scottish Government is therefore poised to examine and investigate these claims by analysing the potential for such discoveries around Shetland.
Other experts including Professors Alex Kemp, Peter Strachan and Alex Russell have also shown support for the recent announcements; describing the figures released by Oil and Gas UK as “plausible” and thus encouraging further exploration of the area.
Understandably, these announcements have led to new hope for Scotland’s oil and gas industry which continues to be one of its biggest assets and best sources of revenue.
Scottish Parliament member Fergus Ewing described Professor Howell’s comments as “extremely encouraging” and talked about the “huge potential” which it proves the industry has.
While Ewing then turned the data into parliamentary leverage for the upcoming vote on independence, the advantages which this announcement could yield are only too clear.
With more potential for extraction in Scotland, the industry could undergo a significant boost over coming months and years and this would not only produce a lucrative market for the sector but also support jobs and further economic growth.
Despite the claims, Sir Ian Wood, the leader of the Wood Review who undertook research into the UK offshore oil and gas recovery and regulation, has dismissed this view.
Speaking recently to Energy Voice, Wood revealed that he 'feared' for the future of Scotland and warned it would have just 15 years left before depleting the North Sea oil reserves - if it voted for independence.
Sir Ian Wood added, "I believe the debate should not be about nationalism, but growth and economic success, and the quality of life for citizens and all that goes with that."
"Against these measures, it’s very hard not to conclude the case is heavily weighted towards Scotland remaining in the UK and getting the best of both worlds – I want the best for future generations of Scots."
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