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Scotland sees North Sea reserves as major asset

North Sea production on pace to increase through 2018.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Scotland sees economic life through offshore oil and gas development. UPI/A.J. Sisco | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/a19dfc44eb9f5a746ac9ac8f9de7878e/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Scotland sees economic life through offshore oil and gas development. UPI/A.J. Sisco | License Photo

EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 28 (UPI) -- Oil and natural gas wealth in the North Sea is expected to become major financial asset for Scotland on independence, the finance secretary said Wednesday.

"North Sea oil and gas is a fantastic natural asset which has a great future for many decades to come," Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said in a statement.

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Scotland holds a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom in September. The Scottish government said it could finance itself in part through oil and gas revenues while powering its economy with renewable resources.

Swinney said there may be as much as 24 billion barrels of oil and natural gas reserves left in the North Sea and production is on pace to increase by 14 percent between 2013 and 2018.

The finance minister said Scotland may be the largest oil producer and the second largest gas producer in the European Union.

"Using the industry estimates of production and realistic oil prices it is clear that Scotland's oil industry will continue to make a valuable contribution to our public finances for many years to come," he said.

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The British government has questioned Scottish plans for independence, saying the United Kingdom would be better off united.

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