SNP credibility crashes further after ‘bleak’ oil and gas performance

Bad figures: In July last year Alex Salmond claimed North Sea oil was worth "£300,000 for every man, woman and child in Scotland". He may have been exaggerating - considerably.

Bad figures: In July last year Alex Salmond claimed North Sea oil was worth “£300,000 for every man, woman and child in Scotland”. He may have been exaggerating – considerably. (


What was Alex Salmond saying about oil revenues, again?

He said that oil would bring in revenues of £6.8billion – £7.9billion in 2016/17 (thanks to the Huffington Post for the figures).

How likely does this seem, now that industry body Oil & Gas UK has reported that falling oil prices and rising costs meant the sector spent and invested £5.3bn more than it earned from sales during 2014?

That’s right – last year North Sea oil lost almost as much as the SNP said it would earn in 2016-17.

Operating costs are rising, investment is falling, the cost per barrel extracted has rocketed to a record high, and the price of oil internationally is at its lowest in years, according to the BBC.

While all this was taking place, Alex Salmond was telling Scottish people they could rely on oil generating £20.2billion in tax revenues in the first three years of an independent Scotland. Now – again according to the HuffPost – it seems unlikely to generate a quarter of that figure.

It is hard to believe that Mr Salmond did not know the facts about oil when he was offering the Scottish people all his rosy talk about future prosperity based on oil revenues.

Yet even today, many supporters of Scottish nationalism are adamant that Labour (above even the proven liars in the Tory and Liberal Democrat parties) misled them.

It’s certainly true that somebody has been lying to Scotland.

Is anybody brave enough to admit who it really was?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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  1. hstorm February 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    ‘Lying’ is perhaps a (slight) overstatement. The figures Salmond had were genuinely sourced, but what he wasn’t being completely up-front about was that they were very much ‘best-case-scenario’ figures, which assumed that the price of oil and the overheads for extracting it would remain as they were for as much as twenty years. As this is never the case in any market, that has to be seen as dishonest to some extent, although, as I say, it is not technically lying.

    And in fairness to Salmond, I don’t think anyone had predicted that the USA and Saudi Arabia would attempt to handle the Crimean crisis by driving the world price of oil down through over-production, or that it would crash the market on quite the scale that it has. But it was always a possibility, which makes his posturing optimistic and naïve, at best.

  2. jeffrey davies February 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    hum its the yanks getting their childish way with the ruskies has we now but didn’t anyone tell em they also hurting themselves

  3. Jim Round February 24, 2015 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    No political party can be pleased with their record on Oil and Gas or any other investment in UK infrastructure for that matter.

  4. cnhay February 24, 2015 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Yes Mike i am convinced that you have lost your senses , why is it the fault of the SNP that the world oil price has suddenly dropped, is it not the fault of both the previous tory and labour governments that there send spend spend attitude with the Scottish oil revenues have left the kitty empty instead of saving for a eventual safety fund as the Norwegians and a number of middle east states have , its not SNP who should be ashamed of the miss spending but Labour and Conservative parties ,

    • Mike Sivier February 24, 2015 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      Read the article, please?
      I didn’t say the oil price crash was the SNP’s fault, now, as you can see perfectly well.
      The oil price crash is due to US and Saudi overproduction (I’m told) on account of the Ukraine crisis.
      Alex Salmond would have known that his claims about oil revenue were extravagant and overexaggerated – but he still went ahead and strung the Scottish people along with them.
      Next time you comment, would you please address the issues raised in the article?

      • Joan Edington February 24, 2015 at 6:47 pm - Reply

        I have to agree with hstorm on this one. Lying is too strong a word. Salmond was merely doing what all the other parties concerned were doing, more honestly than some I would say.
        Oil prices have always fluctuated and have crashed before, to pick up again when whatever events causing the crash have blown over. The timing of this crash, I agree, would have been bad news for a newly independent Scotland who would not have had the time to build up their own oil fund. They have called on successive Westminster governments to do this for decades, to no avail. My own view is that Scotland would have survived the crash and come out the other end, albeit not as rich as some expected. That would not have bothered me since my wish to say goodbye to Westminster is not based on personal greed, unlike many of those who voted for the status quo.

        • Mike Sivier February 24, 2015 at 7:14 pm - Reply

          That’s a very interesting twist on the situation. What about the effect on the finances of a country that was just trying to establish itself? Scotland would have started in debt, and this is likely to have become much worse over time.

      • Joan Edington February 25, 2015 at 11:16 am - Reply

        That is why I said it would have been bad news. However, I do honestly believe that Scotland could have hunkered down and weathered the storm. Being able to concentrate on issues that are important to Scots, but not seemingly to most of England by the way they vote, what cash there was could have been channeled in different directions to where they are currently forced by Westminster’s hold of the purse strings. Whatever they say about the new powers Scotland has been given, it is all give with one hand and take away with the other. Limited tax powers balanced (in the view of those in England who have been fed the idea by the MSM) by stopping Scottish MPs voting for issues that would impact on Scottish finances.
        Having watched Question Time last Thursday, I would like to think that the panel and audience had been fixed by the BBC to avoid a repeat of Salmond’s appearance in Liverpool. If not, Scotland would be well away from such hatred.

        • Mike Sivier February 25, 2015 at 11:44 am - Reply

          I think this is yet another example of SNP supporters believing anything rather than the facts in front of them.

  5. hstorm February 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Can I just ask; has Guy Ropes complained to you about this article?

    It’s just, every time you write an article criticising UKIP, he keeps moaning that you should be focusing on attacking the evil of the Tories instead. So presumably he objects when you criticise the SNP, the LibDems or the Greens instead, for the same reason?

    Er, right?

    • Mike Sivier February 24, 2015 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      You’d think.

      I have done a few attacks on evil Tories lately, though.

  6. Lawcom February 25, 2015 at 11:58 am - Reply

    As you preproposed that SNP may take umbridge at your assumption, you must have known you were lying as you posted, and it is a lie that somehow because the SNP are not fortune tellers or do not control business markets that somehow because “AT PRESENT” their forecasts fall short of what was expected they are some how to blame ? are you mental ?
    The second point would be, let’s wait and see where the oil price is in a year when it would be the actually moment we would have taken over our independence, until that day there is no way you can make up this shit as you yourself don’t know.
    The real question is why are oil prices being artificially kept low ? And by whom ?
    There is no doubt oil prices will rise, it is a product that is running out with each barrel withdrawn, of course prices will rise, so until next year , you and any other idiot that wants to gain some pathetic political points because of oil prices needs to keep their schoolground bitchiness to themselves as they just look and sound stupid.
    I could also point out as we don’t have our independence or control over our OWN resources then we have no say or influence in the oil industry, thanks for that, idiots…

    • Mike Sivier February 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm - Reply

      I wasn’t lying. Salmond must have known what was happening with North Sea oil – he had made it his business to make predictions about what it would do. He must have done his research, otherwise – he would have known – he would not have been taken seriously at all. As it is, the smart commentators didn’t take him seriously anyway and the Scottish people weren’t persuaded either.
      So no, I wasn’t lying and I’m not mental. You are rude and insulting, though.
      Your question about oil prices has already been answered by the commenter hstorm.
      Prices will rise, yes, but – haven’t you even read this article? – the cost of extracting oil from the North Sea is also rising and investment in such extraction is falling.
      What really gets my goat about all this is that commenters like ‘Lawcom’ here – is that really your name? – can call me a liar, suggest that I’m “mental”, sling profanities around, call me an “idiot”, accuse me of “schoolground bitchiness” and tell me I’m “stupid”, despite being wrong in all their claims…
      … and then I get accused of writing “hate-fests”!

      • Joan Edington February 25, 2015 at 3:40 pm - Reply

        Maybe I did mention hate-fests but I would hope that is to be a temporary attitude of a loyal Labour supported doing his bit pre-election. I would never call you stupid or an idiot; far from it going by your normal posts. A wee tad self-centred perhaps, but not many folk aren’t these days.

        • Mike Sivier February 25, 2015 at 7:05 pm - Reply

          The very thought! This writer – Yr Obdt Srvt – self-centred!
          Don’t mistake the persona on this blog for the person who writes it.
          One aspect that both share, though, is nothing I do is motivated by hate.

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