|Alex Russell, Professor of Petroleum Accounting|
Professor Russell, who is also Head of the Department of Management at Aberdeen Business School and Chair of the Oil Industry Finance Association, said he was backing independence to ensure that Scotland’s oil wealth is used to benefit the people of Scotland. He also said that he agreed with the Scottish Government’s plans to bring stability and predictability to the North Sea taxation regime – unlike the damaging way the UK have managed the resource.
Professor Russell’s backing comes as more and more oil experts back a Yes vote, including Professor Sir Donald Mackay, former Chair of Scottish Enterprise; Professor John Howell, Chair of Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen; Dick Winchester, an oil industry expert who sits on the Scottish Energy Advisory Board; Ian Godden, founder and chairman of independent oil company Glenmore Energy plc; Doug Duguid, CEO of Enermech, and Hugh Fraser managing partner of Andrews Kurth (Middle East).
Professor Russell said:
“There is no question that had Scotland been an independent country in 1975, that Scotland would be extremely wealthy now and there would be no national debt. The weight of evidence is that the UK government has failed to invest the harvest from the North Sea oil for future generations.
“Would an independent Scotland look after Scotland’s oil and gas resources better than the current UK government? I believe it would, and would ensure that the people of Scotland benefitted much more than just now. What is more – by providing a much more stable fiscal regime - Scotland can increase confidence and thus investment in the industry. That is why I am voting Yes and I encourage others to do the same next week.
“The incentive for additional exploration and production in as yet unexplored areas of Scotland’s seas, for example, to the west of Scotland including the Sea of the Hebrides, must be a lucrative venture for the oil industry.
“The oil forecasts from the Office of Budgetary Responsibility are ludicrously pessimistic, and a huge understatement of the future potential of North Sea production. The forecast from Professor Alex Kemp, that up to 24 billion barrels appears plausible, is one I agree with, and one backed by Oil and Gas UK.
“This outcome is all the more probable given the truly brilliant and innovative approach of the North Sea oil industry towards finding and exploiting reserves. Our oil industry is second to none in leading the way not only in developing new technology but also in inculcating a culture of mutual support amongst North Sea operators. “
“Though the quantities of oil and gas left are lower than what has so far been removed, the prices are higher, so the value of the second half of Scotland’s oil opportunity may be even greater than the first forty years. We need to grasp that opportunity for Scotland through a yes vote.”
Welcoming Professor Russell’s support for a Yes vote, Yes Scotland Chief Executive Blair Jenkins said:
“When an expert of Professor Russell's calibre speaks out strongly in favour of independence as the best way of delivering a better deal for both the North Sea oil an gas industry and the people of Scotland, it is important that everybody takes note.
“While the No campaign has continually talked down Scotland’s oil wealth - despite enjoying the revenues that flow from it into the Westminster Treasury – Professor Russell's expert opinion makes clear that Scotland’s oil and gas industry has a long and fruitful future ahead of it.
“Under Westminster's stewardship, Scotland's vast oil and gas reserves have been largely squandered. It's time this was put right, not just for people today but for generations to come.
"Only a Yes vote on Thursday can we guarantee the powers needed to get the maximum benefit from Scotland’s natural resources.”
Posted by Peter Dempsie, 12.09.14