EY: Scotland faces uncertain energy future

Nov. 22, 2013 at 8:28 AM
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ABERDEEN, Scotland, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Colin Pearson, a tax director for the Scottish branch of Ernst & Young, said energy investors are wary of possible tax policies from an independent Scotland.

Ernst & Young gauged the prospects for the oil and natural gas sector in Scotland if voters back a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom next year.

"The current Scottish government has consistently stated that taxes would be reduced generally or in some targeted fashion following a 'yes' vote to promote Scotland's economic prosperity," Pearson said in a statement Thursday. "However, the results of our survey appear to suggest that oil and gas executives presently do not believe that this would apply to them."

The Ernst & Young report suggests the Scottish government has time to address any of the energy sector's concerns. Scotland said it may be able to support itself economically in part from revenue generated from its oil and natural gas sector.

Pearson noted, however, that oil and natural gas companies in the region are conducting business as usual "rather than worrying about the implications of the independence vote."

The Scottish government published an oil and gas bulletin Wednesday, its first-ever estimate of oil and natural gas exports. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the data show Scottish exports of oil and natural gas to the British and international markets were worth about $48 billion in 2012.

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