The claim by Sir Ian Wood, a leading Scottish oil executive, that Alex Salmond has hugely exaggerated Scotland’s oil wealth has frustrated supporters of independence and delighted the no camp ahead of next month’s referendum.
Nonetheless, his intervention this week underscores a puzzling point: oil should be a crucial factor in weighing up how Scots vote on 18 September, but the scale and longevity of the country’s fossil fuel wealth remains a matter of debate.
Wood, the billionaire founder of Wood Group, the Aberdeen-based oil services company, would be expected to have a reliable grasp of the real figures and has just completed a review for the UK government on how to maximise the remainder of Britain’s oil reserves.
The Scottish National party has repeatedly predicted that the amount of UK North Sea oil and gas reserves, of which about 91% are located in Scottish waters according to the SNP, amounts to 24bn barrels of oil equivalents. Based on this number, Alex Salmond has talked of £1.5tn of value that could be used to create jobs, tax returns and other benefits to the people of a newly independent Scotland.
via The Guardian