LONDON, March 6 Royal Dutch Shell Plc
has become the second oil heavyweight to urge Scotland to stay
in the United Kingdom, a new setback for the campaign for
Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said a vote for
independence on Sept. 18 would mean greater uncertainty for the
energy industry, given the important role of North Sea oil and
His concerns follow comments by some of Britain's leading
financial services firms about the risks to their operations
from a vote for independence.
Van Beurden said on Wednesday at a company event in London
that he valued "the continuity and stability" that the UK
offered, arguing for its continued membership of the European
Union and Scotland remaining part of the country.
"We're used to operating in uncertain political and economic
environments. But, given a choice, we want to know as accurately
as possible what investment conditions will look like 10 or 20
years from now," he said, in comments reported by the BBC.
"That's the chief reason we're in favour of the UK
maintaining its long-established place at the heart of the
European Union: it provides greater investment stability and
certainty ... It's for similar reasons that we'd like to see
Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom."
Shell is the second oil major to voice doubts about the
impact of Scottish independence.
The boss of BP, a big investor in the North Sea
waters and Britain's country's second-biggest oil company,
warned last month that Scottish independence could cause
"uncertainties" for his company.
Several financial services companies have also raised
concerns publicly about the risks of Scotland ending its
307-year tie with England.
State-backed Lloyds Banking Group said on Wednesday
it could face significant cost increases if Scotland votes to
Edinburgh-based insurance and pensions heavyweight Standard
Life and part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland
have also warnied of the risks of Scottish independence.
Standard Life is so far the only major company to warn it
could move partly out of Scotland if Scots split from the UK.