Scotland sees stimulus from North Sea reserves

March 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 12 (UPI) -- Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said Wednesday his economy was doing fine despite a drop in revenue from North Sea oil and gas.

Salmond said North Sea revenues fell by more than 40 percent between 2012 and 2013, something he said was caused by unplanned disruptions to regional production.

"Despite these factors, Scotland's net fiscal deficit was only one percentage point higher than the U.K. figure in 2012-13," he said.

In February, Salmond said the oil and natural gas reserves left in the North Sea have an estimated value of nearly $2.5 trillion. He said Wednesday there may be "huge" economic benefits to come from North Sea reserves.

Last month, the British government said it expects to secure $330 billion in the next two decades through the recovery of the 3 billion to 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent still left in the North Sea. London said that estimate assumes Scotland remains part of Great Britain.

Scotland holds a referendum for independence in September.

"The coming referendum presents an opportunity to ensure that the key economic decisions are taken in Scotland for Scotland," the first minister said. "Having responsibility for our own finances and our own vast natural resources would allow us to make choices in our own best interests."

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