* BP's Dudley says independent Scotland would cause
* Independence comments rare among top UK company heads
* Dudley says view his, not BP's
* UK's Osborne says comments show risks of independence
By Sarah Young and Andy Bruce
LONDON, Feb 4 The boss of BP, Britain's
second biggest oil company, warned on Tuesday that Scottish
independence could cause his company "uncertainties" and said he
did not want to see Scotland drifting away.
Bob Dudley's comments marked a rare foray into the debate on
Scottish independence among heads of major British companies,
who have so far sidestepped the issue.
"We have a lot of people in Scotland. We have a lot of
investments in Scotland. My personal view is that Great Britain
is great and it ought to stay together," the BP chief executive,
who is American, told the BBC.
Uncertainty around currency issues could affect the company
and if Scotland became independent, it would mean additional
costs for BP, Dudley told reporters later.
"It does not seem the right thing to me for the country
(Scotland) to drift off. That's not a company view, that's from
me," he added.
Scottish government leader Alex Salmond is leading the
independence drive, arguing that Scots will be better off in
charge of their own finances, which he sees benefiting from
Scotland's majority share of the oil off the coast of Britain.
Salmond said Dudley was "entitled to his personal opinion"
on Scottish independence.
"The main thing is that BP has got massive investment
planned in Scottish waters, and rightly so, because they make
lots of money from exploiting the national resources," Salmond
told BBC News.
"And of course, there are many, many chief executives who
are firmly in favour of Scottish independence."
But British finance minister George Osborne said Dudley's
comments were another sign that a currency union between
Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom - comprising
England, Wales and Northern Ireland - would not work.
"That is a further example of the potential economic damage
of independence and the cost to the people of Scotland of
independence," he said of Dudley's remarks in comments to a
Osborne also said an independent Scotland would have to pay
a higher premium for its government debt than the British
government, adding that would be a consequence of a weaker
independent Scottish presence in international debt markets.
Salmond has proposed that Scotland form a currency union
with Britain in the event of independence.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney last week offered his
economic analysis, raising the potential challenges of a
currency union if Scotland kept the pound.
BP, which reported weaker profits earlier on Tuesday,
remains a big investor in Britain's North Sea waters, where
production peaked in 1999.
The company is one of the investors in the 4.5 billion pound
($7.35 billion) Clair Ridge project, which is under development
off the coast of Scotland. On Tuesday Dudley called the Scottish
oil town of Aberdeen "the heartland of the offshore oil and gas