Terminal decline.

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rigdown.jpgThe financial experts attached to the Calman Commission report that oil platform decommissioning costs would blow a £19bn hole in an independent Scotland's budget. 

The Times enthusiastically reports this as proof that "offshore oil won't pay for Scottish independence".

Maybe. These experts are coming from a distinct political position, though, as part of a group who have been hired to consider all but one of Scotland's constitutional options. With that in mind, this looks more like a piece of evidence designed to argue against independence than any steer towards what further devolution might look like (probably a dull beige, as Calum puts it).

It's all a bit irrelevant, though. There are two real reasons why oil won't pay for independence, nor pay for the union. First, we can't afford to do what Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond both want to do - to take "all practical measures to draw on the reserves still in the North Sea". There's this little issue called climate change, see. Tackling climate change and burning all our oil can't be reconciled.

Second, the stuff's running out anyway, and North Sea oil is running out faster than anywhere else in the known world, according to the International Energy Agency. The North Sea peaked in 1999, and the party is going to be over here first. What's left is also increasingly hard to get at. Despite the depressingly Palin-esque approach of both Labour and the SNP (you can pick Sarah or Michael to taste), the reality for the North Sea is "can't drill, won't drill".

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This page was published on November 18, 2008 9:02 AM.

Extraordinary arrogance. was the previous entry in this blog.

Another thing the left parties are wrong on. is the next entry in this blog.