EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said the revenue generated from oil would help stimulate the economy of an independent Scotland.
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.
He unveiled a policy paper in May that estimates the Scottish oil and natural gas industry contributed about $39.5 billion to the gross domestic product in 2011.
The first minister told members of Parliament an independent Scotland would thrive financially.
"Excluding oil, our national income is on a par with the U.K.," he said Wednesday. "Including oil, our gross domestic product per head is 18 percent higher than for the U.K. In fact, it's among the 10 highest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development."
Edinburgh estimates there are nearly 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil and natural gas remaining in the North Sea. An independent Scotland would have the authority to determine what to do with those reserves, the leader said.
Rival claims made by London regarding Scotland's potential economic future, he said, are not "subject to statistical manipulation."