This letter by Leah Gunn Barrett, published in the Scotsman yesterday is worth of wider attention:
There is another reason to leave Cambo oil under the sea (Editorial, August 17). The chief developer of this oil field, Siccar Point Energy, is owned by a company registered in Luxembourg, Siccar Point Luxembourg SCA. What this means is that all profits, interest payments, supply and even labour chain contracts will flow through Luxembourg, not the UK.
So since there won’t be any UK tax revenue there is no economic case for developing this oil field. And the environmental consequences of doing so would be catastrophic. Friends of the Earth Scotland has estimated that extracting and burning Cambo oil would result in carbon emissions ten times greater than Scotland’s annual emissions.
Contrast the UK Government’s mismanagement of Scotland’s oil with what Norway did. The UK Government wasted North Sea oil revenues on short-term consumerist policies such as mortgage tax relief and slashing national borrowing while selling off state-owned British Petroleum and British Gas. It then eliminated tax on Big Oil in 2016, effectively subsidising the obscene profits of an industry that is threatening life on the planet. These Big Oil tax rebates show up in Scotland’s national accounts as a ‘loss.’
Norway taxed oil companies for the privilege of operating offshore and had the foresight to create the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. It retained a majority stake in its state energy company and has generated £386bn more than the UK in tax revenues since the production of oil and gas began. Citizens, not shareholders, benefited.
Herein lies the case for restoring Scotland’s independence. The SNP Government only needs to make it.