EDINBURGH, Scotland, June 9 (UPI) -- With new energy projects emerging, the Scottish government said Monday foreign direct investment was at its highest level in more than 15 years.
A report prepared by Ernst & Young finds Scotland attracted 82 foreign direct investment projects last year, up 8 percent from the previous year and the highest level since 1997.
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said in a statement the report shows his government can "punch above its weight" in terms of attracting investors.
"Scotland continues to be the most attractive location for investment in the U.K. outside of London," he said.
Scotland holds a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom in September. The country says it could finance itself in part through oil and gas reserves while fueling its economy on renewable energy resources.
Algy Cluff, chief executive officer at Cluff Natural Resources, said he's discussed new options to get gas from underground coal deposits with the Scottish government.
"We've been pioneers and unquestionably this is gong to work," he told the Daily Telegraph.