The vitality of the oil industry

Which is the bigger oil producer? Kuwait or the UK?

If you just answered Kuwait, you are not alone. The reality, according to Oil and Gas UK, is the UK.

Britain's best kept secret. We still have oil and gas... for the moment.

How have our politicians let the reality of this industry, which has kept the economy of this country afloat for more than 30 years, such a secret? The UK and Scottish Governments should be singing the praises of our oil and gas industry from the rooftops and fighting to give it all the support it needs to continue to bolster our economy for the next 50 years.

The reality, as we know, is rather different. Gordon Brown, when still Chancellor, hammered it with taxation. The SNP Scottish Government – who you really would think would know better – have largely ignored it in the National Planning Framework as you can see. To them, it is more important to provide support for traditional businesses in the Central Belt than provide the road, air and rail infrastructure for what must surely be one of Scotland's most important industries.

Oil and Gas UK will provide the evidence for anyone who wants to take the time to learn about how Scottish engineering now leads the world.

  • The oil and gas provides three quarters of the United Kingdom's prime energy needs. It is not a twilight industry either – that share is expected to grow to 80% by 2020.
  • 35% of UK electricity generation is from gas.
  • The oil and gas industry supports half a million quality jobs throughout the UK.
  • The industry contributes £35 billion to our balance of payments each year.
  • The industry's £5 billion exports are growing by 10% each year.
  • So far we have taken 36 billion barrels of oil out of the North Sea, but up to 25 billion remain.
  • The UK oil and gas supply chain has an annual turnover in excess of £16 billion each year.
  • The UK is the world leader in subsea engineering.

Our position as the second most important oil city in the world is under threat.

But that threat is not from dwindling reserves of oil.

It is under threat from lack of support by a blinkered attitude from those outside the industry. It's almost as if they have forgotten North Sea Oil because it tucked away in a remote corner of the British Isles.

I heard on Radio Scotland that the citizens of Alaska and Alberta get a cheque each year with a share of the oil revenues generated in their area. That must be a great way of reminding people to support the local oil and gas industry and sing its praises.

Perhaps we need to do that here. But since few outside Aberdeen City and Shire seem to recognise the importance of our industry, maybe we should keep the pay outs only to local people?

Another suggestion was to "go on strike" for a day. Turn off the taps and watch the lights go out across Britain.

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