EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 12 (UPI) -- The Scottish government said oil and natural gas reserves could generate an average $71 billion in tax revenue over the next six years.
The Scottish government estimated its oil and gas reserve potential could have a wholesale value of around $2.2 trillion, based on a 24 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent predicted by Oil and Gas U.K.
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said the regional energy sector would contribute substantially to the national economy.
"Scotland's oil and gas sector is going from strength to strength with record levels of investment in the North Sea," he said in a statement. "The oil and gas sector is vitally important to Scotland's economy and this analysis confirms that the industry places."
Scotland plans a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom next year. A November report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies in London said that an independent Scotland may face a "fiscal adjustment" should North Sea oil and gas revenues decline "as seems likely."
Nevertheless, Swinney said the government could expect the energy industry to generate an average of $71 billion in tax revenue over the next six years.