HOUSTON, May 6 (UPI) -- Scottish sales of oil and natural gas on the international market increased 8.4 percent from 2011-12, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said.
Sales from the oil and natural gas sector in Scotland reached $26.8 billion during the reporting period. The government said international sales made up 47.6 percent of total sales, an 8.4 percent increase from the previous period.
Sales to Middle Eastern markets were the strongest, though Brazilian, U.S. and Australian markets expressed new interest. Scotland said North America was the best for international sales as a whole, with $4 billion in sales.
"The Scottish government recognizes the substantial contribution that the oil and gas industry makes to our economy," Ewing said in a statement. "We are working with the industry to continue to strengthen Scotland's position as a global leader in the sector and these figures mark further growth in this important part of our economy."
Ewing was to be in Houston this week as head of a delegation of more than 50 Scottish companies to take part in an offshore energy conference.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has announced plans for a referendum on independence in 2014. His government maintains it could support itself financially in large part though oil and natural gas developments in the North Sea.