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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

60th Anniversary of North Sea Oil and Gas Legislation


Today, 15 April, is the 60th anniversary of the Continental Shelf Act – the legislation which enabled ‘exploration and exploitation’ of Scotland’s vast North Sea energy resources.


Since the 1970s more than £300,000 million - £60,000 for every person in Scotland - has flowed into the UK Treasury in oil and gas taxation.


The latest Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast estimates that Westminster will rake in a further £20,600 million from Scotland's natural resources over the next five years, even as we move towards a green transition.


Kenneth Gibson MSP said:


“This anniversary is a pertinent reminder of the fact that for 60 years Scotland’s vast energy resources have been under the control of UK Tory, Labour and Coalition governments.


“Instead of investing the £300,000 million of Scotland’s North Sea revenue raised to develop our infrastructure, grow the economy, tackle poverty and invest in public services, the money was squandered by successive Labour and Tory governments.


“Our energy must first and foremost benefit the people and communities of Scotland.

“With independence, we will do what UK governments have failed to do - make our energy resources work for Scotland.


“In energy rich Scotland, people shouldn’t be paying some of the highest energy bills in Europe during this cost-of-living crisis.


“It means re-investing Scotland’s energy wealth back into our communities, rather than seeing it flow to Westminster.


“Taxation still to come from the North Sea, should be re-invested into growing Scotland’s green economy.”


The Continental Shelf Act was introduced on 15 April 1964, making legal the search for and utilisation of energy resources in the North Sea. Its stated intention was:


“An Act to make provision as to the exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf.”



Latest OBR forecast – North Sea Revenue Forecast of £20,600 million until 2029 - Page 150



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