Independent Scotland would create oil and gas wealth fund

LONDON Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:32am EST

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LONDON Nov 26 (Reuters) - An independent Scottish government would create a sovereign wealth fund using revenue from exploiting oil and gas reserves worth around 1.5 trillion pounds ($2.4 trillion), the Sottish government said in an independence blueprint on Tuesday.

Scotland will vote on Sept. 18, 2014 on whether to split from England after 306 years to create an independent nation.

"This government will make the creation of a Scottish Energy Fund an early priority," the devolved government, which favours independence, said in its report, adding that it would also put in place a more stable tax regime for oil and gas exploration.

Britain has long opposed the creation of a sovereign wealth fund using oil and gas money, making it one of the only oil-producing nations not to channel energy revenue into a separate fund.

Norway, for example, has one of the world's richest wealth funds thanks to revenue from oil and gas fields.

Oil and gas production contributed around 22 billion pounds to Scotland's GDP last year and nearly all Britain's offshore oil production is expected to come from Scottish waters over the coming 30 years, the Scottish government said.

An independent Scotland would also remain integrated into Britain's electricity market, allowing Britain to continue adding Scottish renewable energy production to its targets to cut carbon emissions.

Scotland houses the bulk of Britain's wind farms and is a net exporter of electricity to England.

The Scottish government also said it would cover costs for energy efficiency and fuel poverty, a mechanism that would cut consumer energy bills by around 70 pounds a year, it said.

British end consumers are facing ever increasing energy bills due to a rise in wholesale prices but also additional costs for government-imposed social programmes and green energy levies.

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