North East MSP highlights opportunity for independent Scotland

A North Sea oil platform.
A North Sea oil platform.

North East MSP Christian Allard has highlighted the vast potential of North Sea oil and gas that can be realised with fiscal stability in an independent Scotland.

He also hit out at the UK Government’s handling of the industry after CNR International’s Managing Director James Edens claimed that the fiscal environment in the North Sea is not competitive on the world stage because of George Osborne’s tax regime.

Mr Allard said that the only obstacles to North Sea oil and gas development have come from fiscal instability caused by a high turn-over of Westminster Energy Ministers and a tax rise without prior consultation from the Chancellor. Over the past decade there have been 16 substantive changes to the UK North Sea fiscal regime.

The SNP MSP was eager to note that despite the uncertainty of recent years, forecasts show capital expenditure in UK continental shelf exploration, production and investment in 2014 will be around £13 billion – the second highest forecast for investment on record.

Mr Allard said this is a clear indication that the industry is undeterred by the possibility of constitutional change.

The SNP MSP commented: “It is clear that the vast potential of the North Sea oil and gas sector is being undermined by Westminster’s unwillingness to consult with the industry, resulting in a lack of stability.

“The Chancellor’s track record shows that he doesn’t have a proper grasp of what the industry needs in order to flourish. A Scottish Government with the full powers of independence could implement fiscal policy that provides long-term stability to the industry, allowing the sector to maximise the North Sea Basin’s full potential. “