Salmond: “Great Folly for Yousaf to Sacrifice Scotland’s Oil & Gas industry”

Former First Minister Alex Salmond has said it would be “great folly” for Humza Yousaf’s Government to turn its back on Scotland’s status as the Oil & Gas Capital of Europe.

Mr Salmond was responding today, on a day that the price of a barrel of oil hit a recent high of $95, to First Minister Humza Yousaf’s speech yesterday at New York Climate Week where he committed that under his leadership the Scottish Government would seek to reduce Scotland’s status as the Oil and Gas capital of Europe.

Last month’s GERS figures showed that North Sea Oil and Gas Revenues were a near record high for Scotland with £9.4 billion raised in the past financial year. Mr Salmond says that;

“It would be plain daft to sacrifice such an overwhelming bounty for Scotland when Scotland’s Oil & Gas can be the engine room of an independent Scotland and the resource which is used to fund the development of a Net Zero future.”

Mr Yousaf’s comments have been interpreted as the strongest signal to date that he is set to further align with his Green Party coalition partners in opposition to the granting of new extract licenses in the North Sea. Commenting in New York Yousaf said; “We will transition from being the oil and gas capital of Europe to unleashing our renewable potential and becoming the net zero capital of the world.”

Alex Salmond’s ALBA Party have been highlighting to people in Scotland that the North Sea continues to be a source of a “vast bounty that Scots should benefit from but instead we have fuel poor Scots in energy rich Scotland.”

ALBA say that over £300 Billion in today’s money has flowed from the North Sea to the UK Treasury since the oil taps were first turned on and under the coming years billions more will be raised.

Commenting former First Minister and ALBA Party leader Alex Salmond said:

"It would be an act of great folly to sacrifice the enormous potential of Scotland’s Oil and Gas Sector, the billions it generates in revenues and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it sustains, all for a quick speech soundbite and plaudits from the Greens.

We know that the Greens don’t want any new oil and gas fields to be developed at all and Humza’s comments are the closest he’s come yet to declare this also will be the view of his Government. Humza seems to be moving from a “presumption against development” to just “against development”. He is leaving his SNP colleagues in the North East of Scotland politically stranded but more importantly is passing up on the chance for Scotland to have a real influence in tackling climate change.

In the real world, new fields should be licensed but with a condition for them to be a zero carbon development. This can be achieved by a rapid development of carbon capture - a technology Scotland could still be the world leader in, if the UK Government gets a move on to invest a mere fraction of oil revenues for a speedy development of a carbon capture network. The North Sea has more geological potential for successful carbon capture than any other oil basin in the world. Its rapid development could not only reconcile the Scottish oil industry with the planet’s future but also make a substantial difference to Europe’s damaging carbon emissions.

Humza was in New York to laud Scotland’s Climate Justice fund which I actually launched as First Minister in 2012. I made that initiative because I believed Scotland could make an impact by setting the pace. It would be ridiculous now to pass up the opportunity to make the real difference that carbon capture offers and beyond absurd not to realise it must be funded by continuing development of the resource.

While Humza Yousaf makes a blanket attack on the future of Scotland’s North Sea Oil and Gas industry he completely failed to realise that the potential of a bright future for the industry, that uses technology such as carbon capture to impose net zero license requirements to new fields. Hair shirt politics will achieve nothing. Developing Scotland’s resources for the benefit of our people and the planet is a compelling argument for independence."

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