Scotland looks to North Sea for gains

July 23, 2013 at 7:39 AM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, July 23 (UPI) -- Scotland aims to reap the economic benefits from remaining oil and natural gas reserves in the North Sea on independence, First Minister Alex Salmond said.

Salmond unveiled a policy paper highlighting the potential economic benefits for an independent Scotland from offshore oil and natural gas.

The Scottish government estimates there are nearly 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil and natural gas remaining in the North Sea.

"Almost all oil production and more than half of total gas production over the next three decades will take place in Scottish waters," he said Tuesday. "And, of course, only through independence would Scotland receive the tax revenues from this production."

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.

A policy paper unveiled in May estimates the Scottish oil and natural gas industry contributed about $39.5 billion to the gross domestic product in 2011. For renewables, an estimated 25 percent of the tidal and offshore wind resources in Europe also lie within Scottish waters.

The British government said Scotland could go it alone but wouldn't get the some of the subsidies that contribute to its economic growth.

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