Oil questions raised for independent Scotland

Oct. 4, 2013 at 7:45 AM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Economic and social reviews of a potential independent Scotland find it may have a hard time capitalizing on any offshore oil reserves.

Scotland holds a referendum for independence next year. A review of its oil potential from energy reporting website Rigzone found it has a tough road ahead.

Edinburgh estimates there are nearly 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil remaining in the North Sea. An independent Scotland would have the authority to determine what to do with those reserves, its leaders said.

Rigzone found that a report from Scotland's University of Dundee states it may take the International Court of Justice at least 10 years to settle boundary issues for an independent Scotland. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a London think tank, said Scotland may have to use oil revenue to pay off the $247 billion in debt it would incur through independence, the report said Thursday.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said his government could support itself financially in large part though oil and natural gas developments in the North Sea. A September report from the British Treasury Department said decoupling from London would expose an independent Scotland to economic risks.

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