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Scotland woos Chinese investors to energy sector

North Sea oil and gas open for business, first minister says during Beijing trip.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Scottish delegation in Beijing in an effort to draw Chinese investors to North Sea oil and gas sector. Photo by James Jones Jr./Shutterstock
Scottish delegation in Beijing in an effort to draw Chinese investors to North Sea oil and gas sector. Photo by James Jones Jr./Shutterstock

BEIJING, July 29 (UPI) -- A Scottish delegation on an official trip to Beijing said they wanted to draw Chinese investors into the North Sea oil and natural gas sector.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led a delegation to Beijing, meeting with senior representatives from three of the largest Chinese oil companies.

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"I made it clear to management from the firms that Scotland wants to work with them and seize on the vast opportunities that remain in the North Sea," she said in a statement. "Scotland is open for business and investment and partnership working with firm from countries like China will further cement our industry reputation for international leadership."

Data published last month by the Scottish government said the North Sea remains the largest oil producer and second largest natural gas producer in Europe. Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney said there's "no disputing" the industry is depressed, but production is expected to increase by as much as 17 percent by 2019.

Scotland pegged its future during a 2014 bid for independence on revenue from oil and gas reserves in the North Sea. Had it passed, an independent Scotland would've drawn on revenue from the oil and gas sector to fuel the economy while generating electricity from renewable resources.

"The Scottish government is fully committed to the oil and gas industry; it has been a true success story and we are working to ensure it will continue to be so," the first minister said.

Alex Salmond, Sturgeon's predecessor, said a second vote on independence from the United Kingdom is "inevitable," adding the timing of a new referendum would be up to the first minister.

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