EDINBURGH, Scotland, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Increasing the rate of oil and natural gas recovery in the North Sea by 1 percent would generate around $35 billion in tax revenue, a Scottish official said.
"No sector delivers more for our economy than oil and gas and maximizing the percentage of the oil and gas recovered should be a priority for everyone involved in the industry," Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement.
"If we increased the amount of oil and gas recovered from each of Scotland's wells by just 1 percent, it would increase tax revenue by $35.4 billion."
The Scottish government said the average rates of recovery -- about 40 percent -- for oil and natural gas in territorial waters are low.
Edinburgh said there are around 24 billion barrels of oil yet to be recovered from the North Sea. The government estimated the wholesale value of those reserves at $2.4 trillion.
Scotland plans a national referendum on independence from the United Kingdom next year. A November report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies in London said that, in the long term, an independent Scotland may face a "fiscal adjustment" should North Sea oil and gas revenues decline "as seems likely."
Last year, the government said it realized about $18.7 billion in investments from oil and natural gas companies working in the area.