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Edinburgh: Oil good for independence

Feb. 3, 2012 at 6:07 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- An independent Scotland would be able to sustain itself in part from the estimated $1.5 trillion in remaining oil reserves, a finance official said.

Scotland plans a referendum on independence as early as 2014. Scotland would lose economic support from the British government, though Finance Secretary John Swinney said the region "punches above its weight as a location for international investment."

Swinney said independence would allow the Scottish government to tax the oil and natural gas industry in a way that attracts more investments to the region and provides more jobs for the Scottish people.

He said Scotland has a "tremendous assets base" in terms of human and capital resources.

"(There are) remaining oil reserves with an estimated wholesale value of $1.5 trillion, over $4.7 billion worth of whiskey exports, the wealth of exportable engineering and research and development skills vested in Aberdeen, the oil and gas capital of Europe," he said.

Swinney added there was an untapped investment potential in wind, wave and tidal power. Scotland has called for ambitious targets for renewable energy.

British Energy Minister Charles Hendry was quoted by The Guardian newspaper in London as saying Scottish independence "is a point of uncertainty."

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