Scotland

Scotland to ‘phase out’ new petrol and diesel cars by 2032

8 Sep 2017   Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon plans to ‘massively expand’ electric charging points in Scotland The Scottish government has pledged to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans across Scotland by 2032, eight years ahead of the UK Government target. Nicola Sturgeon outlined plans to “massively expand” charging points and set up pilot projects to encourage uptake of electric vehicles. The SNP leader also said there were plans to make the A9 Scotland’s first fully electric-enabled road and that an innovation fund would be set up to encourage climate-change solutions such as charging vehicles in areas with a high concentration of tenements. “Our aim is for new petrol and diesel cars and vans to be phased out in Scotland by 2032,” Ms Sturgeon said. In July, Britain said it would halt the production of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to cut pollution. The plans replicate those already made by […]

How Would Scottish Independence Affect the Region’s Oil, Gas Industry?

7 Jun 2017   Scotland

Rigzone outlines how Indyref2 could shape the region’s oil and gas sector. Scottish independence from the UK could lead to fewer Scottish oil and gas jobs, according to Airswift CEO Peter Searle. “If Scotland exits the UK this may create economic instability, which could negatively impact the oil and gas sector as companies might view the country as a less desirable place to operate,” Searle told Rigzone. “In turn, this would likely reduce the number of available Scottish oil and gas jobs as companies look to move operations to more stable locations,” he added. A Scottish exit could potentially create significant uncertainty within the wider UKCS (UK Continental Shelf) too, particularly with regard to issues such as the delineation of the Scottish Continental Shelf (SCS), the allocation of decommissioning liabilities and tax treatment, Rystad Energy Senior Vice President Mark MacLean said. “The end result could lead to reduced capital […]

Scotland’s Oil, Gas Sector Emerging From Downturn

11 May 2017   Scotland

Scotland’s oil and gas sector is emerging from the downturn, with people getting back into work and businesses growing in confidence, says SNP Deputy Leader Angus Robertson. Scotland’s oil and gas sector is emerging from the downturn, with people getting back into work and businesses growing in confidence, according to SNP Deputy Leader Angus Robertson. “The SNP has sought to support those out of work to retrain in other sectors and we’ve invested in innovation,” Robertson said in a statement sent to Rigzone. “Meanwhile the Tories have twiddled their thumbs and made clear they would rather oversee the managed decline of the oil and gas sector than see it thrive over the long term,” he added. Robertson stated that more support for exploration in Scottish waters is fundamental to ensure stable revenues and employment in the years ahead. The deputy leader also called on the next UK government to […]

Scotland keeps eye on EU, touts oil and gas performance

15 Sep 2016   Scotland

While keeping its eyes on the European Union, the Scottish government touted the performance of North Sea energy in the era of lower oil prices. The government said the oil and gas industry is adjusting to a market where oil has hovered in the mid- to upper-$40 range for the better part of a year. Those prices are down about 50 percent from two years ago, though Scotland said North Sea oil and gas production rates are up by around 20 percent from last year. “Although this remains a difficult time for the industry and its workforce, it is encouraging to note this increase in production as the industry adapts to the current period of low prices,” Secretary […]

Sturgeon announces new Scottish independence drive after ‘seismic’ Brexit vote

2 Sep 2016   Scotland

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched a new independence drive on Friday, urging supporters to join the country’s “biggest ever political listening exercise” to gauge public appetite for a new referendum. Two years after Scots voted by 10 percentage points to reject independence, Sturgeon told her Scottish National Party (SNP) that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union had radically changed the debate. “This summer we witnessed seismic changes which will have a deep impact on our ambition for this country,” Sturgeon told an SNP gathering in Stirling. “The UK that existed before June 23 has fundamentally changed,” she said. The prospect of a long period of Conservative rule in Westminster – the main opposition Labour Party is currently embroiled in […]

Scotland: Oil, gas keys in London’s hands

9 Jul 2016   Scotland

While Scotland is confident about the wealth left in the North Sea, it’s London that holds sway over the oil and gas sector, a Cabinet secretary said. “The Scottish government strongly believes that the North Sea oil and gas sector can have a bright future for years to come,” Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Keith Brown said in a statement . “We are doing everything in our powers to bring this about but it continues to require a concerted effort by government, industry, and regulator.” Brown said he secured assurances in June from his counterparts in London that support for the oil and gas sector would continue not only during […]

Scotland investing more in offshore wind

21 Jun 2016   Scotland, Wind

Scottish government setting aside funding to push the development of offshore wind energy technolgy. File Photo by Teun van den Dries/Shutterstock EDINBURGH, Scotland, June 20 (UPI) — The Scottish government said the economic returns of renewable energy investments were emerging, adding another $2.1 million would go toward wind. Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said more than 300 jobs would come from the construction of the new Beatrice wind farm slated for the country’s coast. “Innovation in renewables also continues to contribute to the excellent progress we are making on reducing greenhouse gas emissions after the recent announcement that Scotland has exceeded our 2020 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42 percent six years early,” he said in a statement. The government awarded $2.1 million toward an accelerator program meant to facilitate research and design for further offshore wind development. Among the strategies included in the new investment are […]

Scotland meets climate goals early

15 Jun 2016   Scotland

The Scottish government said Tuesday it’s reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to the point that it met its goals for 2020 years ahead of schedule. “Scotland is making outstanding progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said in a statement. Data published by the Scottish government show total emissions are down 12.5 percent year-on-year and are 45.8 percent below a baseline level based on 1990 emissions. Scotland is besting the British rate of decline by 6.5 percent. “These statistics show that we not only met the annual 2014 emissions reduction target but also exceeded the level of our world-leading 2020 target for a 42 percent reduction, six years ahead of schedule,” the secretary said. Scotland pegged […]

Bank of Scotland warns of further North Sea pain after ‘severe’ oil slump

6 Jun 2016   Scotland

North Sea oil companies are poised to make even deeper cuts to the embattled workforce this year as almost half say that costs need to fall further to manage the aftermath of the oil market crash. The Bank of Scotland has warned that nearly a third of companies are planning further job cuts to survive the slow recovery from sub-$30 a barrel oil prices seen earlier this year. The bank’s annual oil sector survey shows that 43pc of companies are planning cost cutting even after sweeping job losses and a dramatic pullback in investment last year. The Bank of Scotland’s Stuart White said “there are still choppy water to navigate”. “With oil prices currently hovering around the $50 mark there is hope that prices have bottomed out and have begun to slowly and modestly recover. Many businesses however, undoubtedly face more difficult decisions on cost savings, jobs and investment,” […]

Scotland Bans Fracking, Forever

3 Jun 2016   Scotland

The Scottish Parliament voted to ban fracking countrywide on Wednesday, making a moratorium on the controversial technique a permanent affair. The narrow vote can after the legislative body temporary outlawed fracking in January 2015 while it conducted a public health impact assessment and consulted environmental experts. The Scottish Greens, the Liberal Democrats, and the Labour Party joined together to hand a 32-29 defeat to the Conservatives, who vehemently opposed the permanent measure, The Guardian reported. Related: Clinton Campaign Pledges to Raise Fed Royalties for Oil Companies Legislators affiliated with the Scottish National Party chose to abstain from the vote, which prompted its fellow liberal parties to call on the group’s leaders to clarify its position on fracking and its energy platform. The Scottish National Party’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said he and his government remained “deeply skeptical” on the merits of fracking and confirmed that the practice […]

Scottish Minister Worries Remaining North Sea Oil Won’t Be Extracted

16 Feb 2016   Scotland

Scotland’s finance minister has told the British government he is concerned that some of Britain’s remaining North Sea oil will never be recovered as companies active in the area have scaled down investments due to the weak oil price. John Swinney, who is also Scotland’s deputy first minister, urged British finance minister George Osborne in a letter to cut taxes on oil and gas companies and to consider giving loan guarantees to the sector to avoid early field shutdowns and more job losses. Scotland is home to most of Britain’s oil and gas production and the oil market downturn has already led to around 10,000 job losses and salary cuts. “The declining oil price has resulted in a number of North […]

Scotland wants tax support for North Sea energy

28 Jan 2016   Scotland

The Scottish government said it would call on its British counterparts to create a favorable climate for North Sea investments in exploration and production. “There is no doubt the industry is currently facing an extremely challenging outlook, but oil and gas can continue to make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy and energy security for decades to come,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a statement. British energy company BP said mid-January it would trim around 600 from its payroll to ensure it remains competitive in the North Sea environment . Mark Thomas , a regional president for North Sea operations, said maturation of North Sea reserve basins made for challenging conditions. In December, industry group Oil and Gas U.K., said there were […]

Wind energy output ‘could power most Scots homes’

12 Jan 2016   Scotland, Wind

In six out of 12 months, wind generated enough power to supply more than 100 per cent of household needs, claims WWF Scotland. Picture: TSPL Wind power output hit record levels last year, generating enough energy to supply the electrical needs of 97 per cent of Scottish homes. Turbines provided 10,392,439 MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough on average to supply 2.34 million homes, up 16 per cent compared to the previous year. 2015 was a huge year for renewables, with wind turbines and solar panels helping ensure millions of tonnes of climate-damaging carbon emissions were avoided Lang Banks, Director WWF Scotland Analysis carried out by WWF Scotland of data that was provided by WeatherEnergy found that in six out of 12 months, wind generated enough power to supply more than 100 per cent of Scottish household needs. With business and industry factored in, wind power generated […]

Scotland frets over oil, but posts economic gains

22 Aug 2015   Scotland

The Scottish government said Friday it was on a streak of slow but steady economic growth, but cautioned risks remain from low oil prices and a weak Asia. Scotland reported growth of 0.6 percent during the first quarter of the year, which it said signaled one of the longest continuous streaks of growth since 2001. “Today’s State of the Economy report shows almost three years of uninterrupted growth,” Deputy First Minister John Swinney said in a statement. “The most recent figures for this year show all main sectors of the economy recorded growth.” Though fiscal year 2016, the government said it expects to see $7 billion in new infrastructure investment. Despite the mid-term growth expectations, the government said […]

Scotland examines next steps after coal plant closure

19 Aug 2015   Coal, Scotland

 The Scottish government said Tuesday it was setting up a panel to look into the impact of the closure of the Longannet coal power plant, the country’s last. “ScottishPower’s decision to close Longannet in March 2016 is deeply regrettable and has far-reaching consequences for Scotland,” Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement. “This is a worrying time for Longannet workers, and the Scottish government and its agencies will do everything possible to support the 230 directly employed staff who will be affected by this announcement.” The utility said the combination of high carbon taxes and high transmission charges meant it had to shut down the coal plant by next year. With 46 years in service, Longannet is the […]

Scotland woos Chinese investors to energy sector

30 Jul 2015   China, Scotland

A Scottish delegation on an official trip to Beijing said they wanted to draw Chinese investors into the North Sea oil and natural gas sector. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led a delegation to Beijing , meeting with senior representatives from three of the largest Chinese oil companies. “I made it clear to management from the firms that Scotland wants to work with them and seize on the vast opportunities that remain in the North Sea,” she said in a statement. “Scotland is open for business and investment and partnership working with firm from countries like China will further cement our industry reputation for international leadership.” Data published last month by the Scottish government said the North Sea remains the largest […]

Scotland expects North Sea production gains

26 Jun 2015   Scotland

Though the industry is in a downturn, the Scottish government said Thursday it expected production from the North Sea to increase by more than 10 percent. Data published by the Scottish government said the North Sea remains the largest oil producer and second largest natural gas producer in Europe. Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney said there’s “no disputing” the industry is depressed, but production is expected to increase by as much as 17 percent by 2019. “These figures show that considerable opportunities to extend production remain in the UKCS and that, properly supported, the industry can boost production over the next five years,” Swinney said. A January report from analysis firm Wood Mackenzie said exploration activity in 2014 was off 18 percent from […]

Scotland in a huff over wind energy subsidies

25 Jun 2015   Scotland

The Scottish government said it wants the British energy secretary to come to its capital to explain the reasons behind a cut in wind energy subsidies. “The Scottish government has been clear that onshore wind should be able to compete with other technologies,” Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement Wednesday. London announced plans to end public subsidies for new onshore wind farms starting in April 2016. Last year, the $1.2 billion in government support helped onshore wind power generate 5 percent of total British electricity and bring the region closer to its climate change goals, the British government said. The Scottish government countered that London’s proposal was stacked against it as nearly 70 percent of the installed onshore wind power is […]

Society calls for Scottish fracking review

23 Jun 2015   Scotland

Hydraulic fracturing in Scotland could give the Edinburgh government some autonomy over the energy sector with few environmental impacts, a policy paper read. The Royal Society of Edinburgh, the premier scientific academy in Scotland, said the controversial drilling practice known also as fracking offers Scotland important options for onshore natural gas. “Onshore production of unconventional gas would allow Scotland control over all regulation surrounding extraction and production,” the paper read. Fracking involves the use of water, abrasives and a trace amount of chemicals to coax oil and natural gas out of shale deposits. Critics argue the practice carries with it a significant amount of risk, ranging from an increase in minor earthquakes to contamination of regional water supplies. The society’s paper said the environmental […]

In Oil, Aberdeen Struggles With Price, Output

15 May 2015   Scotland

When he was laid off in December, Sean Murphy thought he would easily find a new job with his 30 years of experience as a supervisor on oil rigs all over Europe’s North Sea. Five months and more than 200 résumés later, Mr. Murphy has lost confidence. So, too, has this once-buoyant city. Often called Europe’s energy capital for the high number of oil-and-gas firms operating here, Aberdeen is a victim of the sharp drop in oil prices since last year. More than 1,000 oil workers have been laid off in the region since the downturn began last year. Local businesses, from taxi cabs to hotels and restaurants, report fewer customers and fear worse is to come. The property market, once one of Britain’s hottest, has […]

Scotland should be shielded from low oil price, says Salmond

14 Apr 2015   Scotland

Scotland could be shielded by the rest of the UK from the impact of low North Sea oil revenues even if it gains the “full fiscal autonomy” demanded by the Scottish National party, former SNP leader Alex Salmond has claimed. The suggestion that Scotland could continue to benefit from billions of pounds in fiscal transfers from the UK even if it takes full control over all its revenues is likely to outrage SNP critics south of the border. Pro-union parties have already put pressure on the SNP over its call for devolution of all taxes in Scotland, saying that slumping oil revenues would mean a massive fiscal crunch for Scottish governments that would no longer receive a large proportion of their funding from London. But in a column  for the pro-independence The National newspaper, Mr Salmond suggested the “no detriment” principle adopted […]

Peak Oil and Scotland

16 Feb 2015   Scotland

As it is a finite resource, by definition, we will run out of Oil at some point. Around the year 2000, Scotland (and the UK Continental Shelf as a whole) reached “peak oil” (Oil and Gas UK 2014).  So what is “peak oil”, and what are the implications of it? Peak oil is the point at which the highest rate of oil production is achieved, and beyond which oil production enters terminal decline. This could be due to many reasons – be it due to conscious policy choices by world governments to leave oil in the ground, or it becoming impossible or undesirable to extract what oil remains. The reason it is so difficult to anticipate when peak oil will occur is because new technology becomes available which either makes it possible to extract more difficult and remote fields, or it becomes possible to get more oil from fields […]

Scotland enacts fracking moratorium

30 Jan 2015   Scotland

Scottish government places moratorium on fracking, citing need for more research. Photo by Steve Oehlenschlager/Shutterstock EDINBURGH, Scotland, Jan. 29 (UPI) — The Scottish government will take a cautious look at shale oil and gas extraction during a moratorium period, the energy minister said Thursday. “I am announcing a moratorium on the granting of planning consents for all unconventional oil and gas developments, including fracking,” Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement. The ban comes as those in the British government press ahead with its shale ambitions despite frustration surrounding the frontier natural gas sector. Authorities in Lancashire County in England, said to hold vast shale natural gas deposits, are reviewing drilling applications submitted by Cuadrilla Resources. Ewing said the moratorium was enacted so Scottish legislators could take time to review public health or other concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking. “We recognize that local […]

Urgent N Sea oil review ordered as job axe falls on Aberdeen

16 Jan 2015   Scotland

The British government has ordered an urgent review of the North Sea oil industry after a collapse in prices that has prompted hundreds of job losses and raised fears for the survival of ageing fields. BP’s UK arm told staff in Aberdeen on Thursday that it would cut 300 staff and contractor jobs from its 3,500-strong North Sea business — the latest in a series of job losses and pay cuts in the sector. More On this story On this topic IN UK Economy During a visit to Aberdeen to discuss the impact of slumping oil prices, Ed Davey, the energy secretary, said he had instructed Andy Samuel, the chief executive designate of Britain’s new Oil and Gas Authority, to “lead an urgent commission, working with industry, to identify the key risks to [UK] oil and gas production”. Mr Davey […]

Scotland draws low-carbon fire

12 Jan 2015   Scotland

Though Scotland has one of the most ambitious renewable energy programs in the world, Friends of the Earth said the country’s pollution is a health concern. Friends of the Earth said its review of 2014 government data show air pollution is responsible for as much as $2.5 billion in annual healthcare costs for the Scottish people. “Scotland’s streets are shown to have dangerous levels of toxic pollution which are breaking legal limits that were due to be met in 2010,” campaigner Emilia Hanna said in Saturday statement. Scotland aims to draw more on renewable energy to power its economy, while looking toward oil and gas reserves in the North Sea as a source of revenue . Renewable electricity capacity has grown at an average rate of 660 […]

Scotland calls for North Sea reforms

10 Jan 2015   Scotland

The Scottish government wants reforms in the tax regime of the North Sea oil and gas sector to ensure long-term sustainability, the energy minister said. Scotland pegged its future during a bid for independence on revenue from oil and gas reserves in the North Sea. The bid failed last year, though Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said frustration endured in the sector. “The oil and gas industry is a strong success story for Scotland and will continue to be,” he said in a late Thursday statement. “However, because of the mismanagement of oil and gas fiscal policy by the U.K. government, challenges remain and we must tackle the on-going cost pressures and the fall in oil prices head on.” Ewing said the region’s energy sector needs a […]

Oil prices a cause for Scottish concern

31 Dec 2014   Scotland

Scotland is concerned about how low oil prices may impact North Sea operations, but is confident about future growth, the deputy first minister said Tuesday. The Scottish government said its economy is on pace to turn in its strongest performance in seven years as well as marking its second straight year of continuous growth. Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the labor market in particular was strong. “Scotland is leading the way with the highest employment and economic activity rates and lowest unemployment rate of the home nations of the United Kingdom,” he said in a statement. Though fiscal year 2016, the government said it expects to see $7 billion in new infrastructure investment. Despite the mid-term growth expectations, the government said low oil […]

Oil rout would have wrecked an independent Scotland’s finances

22 Dec 2014   Scotland

Scotland’s North Sea revenues would have slumped to one fifth of Holyrood’s preferred forecasts in its first year of independence if Scots had voted Yes in September, according to an Office for Budget Responsibility […]

Scotland creates center for innovation in wave energy

24 Nov 2014   Scotland

Scotland, a world leader in renewable energy development, still has a lot to learn in terms of wave energy programs, the energy minister said. Minister Fergus Ewing unveiled plans to develop a technology center dubbed “Wave Energy Scotland,” which he said would encourage innovation and development in the offshore marine energy sector . “With the extraordinary ocean energy resources off Scotland’s coasts, our belief in the future success of wave energy is undiminished,” he said in a Saturday statement. The Scottish government has put pressure on its British counterparts after a failed bid for independence, arguing for a more diluted power structure when it comes to energy sector management. The Scottish government says its power systems account […]

No means yes for Scotland, energy companies say

20 Sep 2014   Scotland

After a “no” vote, British energy company BP said Friday it would work closely with the governments in Edinburgh and London to boost North Sea recovery. More than half of the voters taking part in a Thursday referendum for independence from the United Kingdom chose to continue on with 307 years of unity. BP said it would stay on with its commitments in the North Sea . “BP will continue to work closely with both the UK and Scottish governments to realize our shared ambition of maximizing economic recovery from the North Sea,” the company said. Scotland said independence would have drawn in substantial oil and gas wealth in the North Sea, with power coming from renewable resources. Edinburgh touted the revenue potential on the day of the referendum. Analysis this week from Wood Mackenzie found that while most of the […]

Wood Mac: All energy eyes on Scottish vote

18 Sep 2014   Scotland

Energy companies working in the North Sea need a sense of fiscal confidence no matter how the Scottish referendum turns out, Wood Mackenzie said Wednesday. Scotland holds a one-sentence referendum Thursday for independence from the United Kingdom. The government in Edinburgh said it could support itself with oil and gas revenue while powering an independent Scotland with renewable resources . Energy consultant group Wood Mackenzie said fiscal uncertainty is a primary concern for oil and gas companies working in the region. “Regardless of which government is in charge of the industry, companies will seek stability and simplicity around existing fiscal terms as well as tax incentives for harder to produce reserves,” it said. “Industry engagement will be paramount to maximizing value for both government and companies.” Wood Mackenzie, which has headquarters in the Scottish capital, said much of the oil and gas remaining […]

Scotland bets on North Sea oil, even as the wells start to run dry

15 Sep 2014   Scotland

 The discovery of oil deep beneath the waters of the North Sea has made this ancient port city an energy boom town, with some of the highest wages and lowest unemployment rates anywhere in Europe. Now, leaders of the campaign to break from Britain in a Thursday referendum are counting on the spoils of “Scotland’s oil” to help spread prosperity across their newly independent nation, funding schools, health care and social welfare programs. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has promised an oil fund, modeled on Norway’s, to ensure that the country’s wealth is broadly shared. But in the final days before the vote, that vision of a progressive and egalitarian society built on a foundation of black goo is coming up against the hard reality of energy economics: After four […]

If Scotland Goes, Bankers Fear Britain Could Exit European Union

13 Sep 2014   Scotland

Tremors over a possible breakup of the United Kingdom have been felt here in recent days, as markets gyrate and banks make contingency plans. Yet as Scotland nears its vote on whether to be an independent nation, bankers here worry that a split might unintentionally set in motion a push for what could be a much uglier divorce: an exit of Britain from the European Union. “There’s a sense of, ‘If it could happen in Scotland, it could happen in the U.K.,’ ” said Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK, a lobbying group for the financial sector. If an independent Scotland would be complicated, a Britain alone in Europe would be a complete […]

Support for Scots’ independence slips behind with days to go: poll

12 Sep 2014   Scotland

Supporters of keeping Scotland in the United Kingdom have clawed back a 4 percentage point lead over separatists, a YouGov poll showed on Friday, with less than a week to go before Scots vote in a referendum on independence. The YouGov survey for The Times and Sun newspapers put Scottish support for the union at 52 percent versus support for independence at 48 percent, excluding those who said they did not know how they would vote. “The ‘no’ campaign has moved back into the lead in Scotland’s referendum campaign,” YouGov President Peter Kellner said in a commentary on the survey. “This is the first time ‘no’ has gained ground since early August.” The indication that support for keeping the United Kingdom intact has drawn slightly ahead in Scotland is of only meagre comfort to unionists; the broader picture painted by recent surveys is that the vote […]

‘Yes’ vote means more oil, Scotland says

11 Sep 2014   Scotland

Only a “yes” vote on the independence referendum will give Scotland the chance to realize the North Sea’s oil and gas potential, the energy minister said. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said Wednesday he welcomed a paper published from the University of Aberdeen finding 99 oil discoveries will be commercially viable over the next 30 years . “In value terms half the wealth from Scotland’s oil remains and by grabbing the independence opportunity later this month we can put an end to poor U.K. stewardship of this vital resource,” Ewing said in a statement. Scotland votes Sept. 18 in a one-sentence referendum for independence from the United Kingdom. The government in Edinburgh says it could support its economy with oil and gas reserves , while relying on renewable resources for power. The University of Aberdeen study finds 58 of the expected new discoveries […]

Scottish independence: New poll eases pressure on No camp

11 Sep 2014   Scotland

The embattled campaign against Scottish independence earned some respite on Wednesday as a poll gave the No side a six-point lead and leading oil bosses joined Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, in warning of the potential costs of separation. On the day that David Cameron said he would be “heartbroken” if the United Kingdom was broken up, a Survation poll for the Daily Record suggested the No campaign’s lead was holding steady at 53 against 47 for Yes. More On this story On this topic IN UK Politics […]

Scotland independence vote sets North Sea oil industry on edge

11 Sep 2014   Scotland

Scotland’s independence vote has received a last-minute jolt of energy as polls show a surge by the Nationalist camp, which has effectively countered a mostly downbeat “No” campaign and picked holes in London’s claims to be a responsible custodian of North Sea oil. A week ahead of the September 18 referendum and with oil remaining a major issue, pro-Union politicians and the financial community in London have been alarmed by polls showing the Nationalists level-pegging, after months in which the “Better Together” camp had a comfortable lead. Leaders in industry and government have presented arguments knocking down Nationalist aspirations to a prosperous Norwegian-style state underpinned by a sovereign wealth fund that would save oil wealth for future generations. But the arguments against–such as that Norway is at an earlier stage in its oil production and is thus not comparable, or has a more favorable demographic situation–have proved less persuasive […]

Scottish independence: David Cameron launches impassioned plea to Scots

10 Sep 2014   Scotland

UK prime minister David Cameron ‘We desperately want you to stay; we do not want this family of nations to be ripped apart,’ said Mr Cameron David Cameron has made his most impassioned appeal to Scots to stay in the UK, urging them to choose a “brighter future for Scotland by voting No” rather than a “leap in the dark with a Yes vote”. With opinion polls showing the result of the September 18 referendum too close to call, the prime minister and Labour leader Ed Miliband have postponed their weekly clash at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday to join the No campaign in Scotland. More On this story On this topic IN UK Politics & Policy Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, will also campaign against independence. Writing in the Daily Mail , Mr Cameron said the “United Kingdom is a precious and special country . . . so let no one […]

Why Does Scotland Want Independence? It’s Culture vs. Economics

10 Sep 2014   Scotland

If you had told someone in 2012 that in just two years the eurozone would remain bonded together but the United Kingdom might not, they would have thought you insane. But here we are. It’s been a good three centuries, but now Scotland may want out of the United Kingdom. The stakes are enormous for Scotland, and quite high for the rest of Britain. But the debate over Scottish independence also sheds important light on how debates over the nature of the state that are as old as Hobbes and Locke apply in a modern world of instant communication and cryptocurrency. The latest polling on the referendum, to be held Sept. 18, points to a narrow edge for Scots who wish to pull out of the state that they have been part of since 1707 and go it as a nation of their own. Previous polls, by contrast, had […]

Brown pledges ‘Burns Night declaration’ for Scotland

9 Sep 2014   Scotland

A Yes campaign placard is placed in a window in the Grassmarket on September 8, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Better Together campaign has denied plans to set out a timetable for giving more powers to Scotland were a sign of panic. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) Scots were promised “modern home rule within the United Kingdom” on a breakneck timetable on Monday if they rejected independence next week, as a new poll confirmed that support for separation was growing. Gordon Brown , former Labour prime minister, was given the task of trying to halt the independence bandwagon , promising a “Burns Night declaration” on new powers on tax and spending for the Scottish parliament by January. More On this story On this topic IN UK Politics & Policy The promise of new powers for Holyrood came as a TNS poll put the […]

Poll shows Scottish independence vote too close to call as London offers more powers

9 Sep 2014   Scotland

The rival campaigns in Scotland’s fight over independence are running neck-and-neck nine days before the referendum, with a surge in support for those who wish to break away from the United Kingdom, a TNS poll showed on Tuesday. The number of people saying they would vote “No” to independence had dropped to 39 percent, down from 45 percent a month ago. “Yes” support was slightly behind at 38 percent but had gained ground from 32 percent a month ago. “This poll reveals a remarkable shift in voting intentions,” said Tom Costley, head of TNS Scotland. “It is too close to call and both sides will now be energized to make the most of the last few days of the campaign and try and persuade the undecided voters of the merits of their respective campaigns.” The poll follows one in a Sunday newspaper that put the pro-independence […]

As Polls Tighten, Britain Promises Scots More Self-Rule if They Reject Independence

8 Sep 2014   Scotland

LONDON — Shaken by polls showing momentum shifting toward independence for Scotland, the British government will offer proposals for greater political and fiscal autonomy for the Scots if they vote to remain within the United Kingdom in a referendum on Sept. 18, George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, said on Sunday. The narrowing polls have caused considerable anxiety among politicians and business leaders, driving down the value of the pound and raising questions among investors about the stability of the economy and the fate of the current British government. The vote, which could bring an end to the 307-year union between Scotland and England, is also regarded as important to the future of the British prime minister, David Cameron. As leader of what is still formally known as the Conservative and Unionist Party, Mr. Cameron, already facing internal divisions over Britain’s membership in the European Union, may not […]

Supporters of Scottish independence take narrow poll lead for first time

8 Sep 2014   Scotland

LONDON (Reuters) – Supporters of Scottish independence from Britain have taken their first opinion poll lead since the referendum campaign began, indicating a real possibility that they might win, according to a YouGov survey for the Sunday Times newspaper. With less than two weeks to go before the Sept. 18 vote, the poll put the “Yes” to independence campaign on 51 percent against “no” camp on 49 percent, overturning a 22-point lead for the unionist campaign in just a month, the Sunday Times said. YouGov said that the results excluded those who would not vote and those who did not plan to vote or did not know how they would vote. With those groups included, secessionists would be on 47 percent and those championing the United Kingdom would be on 45 percent, it added. It said that the poll, conducted after pro-independence leader Alex Salmond was widely judged to […]

Pound falls as poll puts nationalists ahead for first time this year

8 Sep 2014   Scotland

Sterling fell to a 10-month low on Monday after the campaign for a Yes vote on Scottish independence took the lead in a poll that left the pro-union camp scrambling to head off a surge in support for a breakaway from Britain. Chancellor George Osborne on Sunday promised within days “a plan of action to give more powers to Scotland”, including more control over taxes, welfare spending and job creation if the country rejects independence on September 18. However, behind the scenes some senior Tories were preparing for possible defeat. More On this story On this topic IN UK Politics & Policy The pound was down 1 per cent against the dollar in early trading to $1.6163, its weakest level since last November. Sterling is 0.2 per cent weaker versus the euro, the single currency now able to buy 80.02p. UK government debt is underperforming peers, too, […]

Energy Industry Will Flourish in Independent Scotland, Says Minister

28 Aug 2014   Scotland

The role and future of oilfields off Scotland and their revenue streams have been a source of debate in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum. BP ETAP (Eastern Trough Area Project) oil platform in the North Sea, pictured here in February, is around 100 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images ABERDEEN, Scotland—Scotland votes next month on whether to split from the U.K., and Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is trying to reassure oil companies that the country’s large energy industry will flourish after independence. “Our (energy) policy has been primarily designed by industry,” Mr. Ewing said in a recent interview, promising that won’t change in an independent Scotland. Britain’s oil and natural-gas reserves, much of them off Scottish shores in the North Sea, have become a particularly fraught flash point in the debate over independence, which culminates in a Sept. 18 referendum. Recent polling suggests Scots […]

Oil stock depletion ‘felt by 2030’

22 Aug 2014   Scotland

Depleting oil and gas production will begin to be felt by 2030 and will have serious implications for the economy, jobs and balance of payments in an independent Scotland, according to Sir Ian Wood. Sir Ian, an authority on the sector, has warned that an independent Scotland without new hydrocarbon regions being discovered will have no more than 35 years of depleting offshore oil and gas production left, and this must be taken into account in the economics of independence. The industry, therefore, cannot figure significantly in Scotland’s medium-term economic calculations, he said. During an interview with EnergyVoice.com, Sir Ian contradicted the Scottish Government’s own figures for remaining North Sea resources and tax income. He said that even with further tax breaks and less complex regulation in the North Sea, only a further 15-16.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) are likely to be recovered. The Scottish Government has […]