How to make a ‘potentially massive’ oil find one that ‘isn’t a big find’? Just lie, omit and minimise. Ask BBC Scotland.

g63eHSMm bird

(c) Kevin Keane                           (c) BBC (?)

Here’s what yesterday’s announcement by BP looked like in an anonymous (junior reporter?) Herald report yesterday:

‘BP oil find is major boost to North Sea production. Oil giant BP has announced the discovery of what is believed to be a large North Sea field in a boost that could extend production by more than three decades. The firm has made two significant oil finds, one west of Shetland and another in the central North Sea. That should lead to production doubling to 200,000 barrels a day within two years.’

The BBC reports below are a bit different. I’m sure you’ve guessed already what’s coming or perhaps what’s not coming. First, a quick look at how industry representative, Mark Thomas, BP North Sea regional president, put it in Energy Voice:

‘These are exciting times for BP in the North Sea as we lay the foundations of a refreshed and revitalised business that we expect to double production to 200,000 barrels a day by 2020 and keep producing beyond 2050.’

Before, we look at how BBC Scotland reacted, let me add some numbers, to help monetarise the above quantities and justify the optimistic language. BP expect to double production to 200 000 barrels per day so that’s an extra 100 000 barrels. Brent crude is selling above $70 per barrel and prices are expected to rise dramatically in 2018-20. However, sticking with the $70 figure, BP will be earning an extra $7 million per day or $2.55 billion per year and, by 2050 (I know they said ‘beyond’), a total of $81.76 billion plus inflation! Production costs are currently $12-15 per barrel and falling, so the scope for revenue coming to a Scottish treasury is clearly well within the ‘massive’ category. Finally remember this is the revenue from only two fields. See this for more, much more:

£290 billion of tax revenue still in the North Sea and much more to the west of Shetland

Right, steel yourself, it’s time for the BBC Scotland reports. First from the website with ‘Analysis by Kevin Keane, BBC Scotland environment correspondent.’ Why not the business correspondent Douglas Fraser? He usually does (down) oil and gas. Here’s what Kevin had to say with my comments in square brackets and underlined, after each:

 ‘BP announces two North Sea discoveries [just ‘two’, no indication of scale]. BP says the discoveries could [experts ‘expect’] lead to a major expansion of its North Sea production. BP said in 2017 it hoped [experts ‘expect’]to double North Sea oil production to 200,000 barrels by 2020 [no mention of beyond 2050] through a range of projects. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a big find [no mention by BP, expert, or reliable source for this claim]. BP has given no indication how much oil and gas it expects from these two wells [a lie-‘doubling to 200 000’ so just divide by 2?], but the mood music suggests it will be small to moderate [What mood music? From whom?]. Any development will most likely be tagged to existing infrastructure. What this speaks to though is the broader outlook for an industry which has been in the doldrums [relevance?]. When times are bad [relevance?], oil companies halt the financial gamble of searching for more “black-stuff” and concentrate on the production that makes them money. Exploration has been virtually non-existent since the oil price crashed and confidence for the future has been low [gross exaggeration and not sourced]. But this, and some other recent discoveries, are clear indicators that the bottom has been hit. The oil price is relatively high [‘relatively’? – passing $70pb from $27.67 in January 2016] and the government has made some supportive changes to the tax structure. Boom time? Not a bit of it [evidence?]. This is an industry which wants to be seen as lean and frugal. But is is clearly on a purposefully [evidence?] slow bounce back.’

Stunning isn’t it? Propaganda at its least subtle and he’s not finished yet. Remember, they gave this to the Environment Correspondent, so the piece finishes with this:

‘However, environmentalists have responded with dismay to the news that production in the area was the be stepped up. Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland said: “Just weeks after it was reported 2017 was one of the hottest years on record, it seems perverse to be aiming to double production of North Sea oil. Instead we need to see a just transition that enables us to harness the engineering skills currently deployed in the North Sea and apply them to supporting a range of cleaner forms of energy production.”’

I’m not unsympathetic to the Environmental position but this has been exploited here simply to weaken confidence in the Scottish economy post-independence.

Finally, what did Reporting Scotland have to say? I watched/skimmed RS for the first time in nearly a year and heard this from Jackie Bird:

The oil giant BP says it’s made two discoveries in the North Sea. Further appraisal work is underway following initial drilling at the Capercaillie field east of Aberdeen and the Achmelvich field west of Shetland. If viable, they’re expected to be connected to existing production platforms. BP’s managing director for the North Sea said: ‘the recent rises in the oil price haven’t had a bearing on investment decisions.’

I don’t feel well. Before I have a relapse, I’d better finish this off.

Reporting Scotland kept it late (sixth item) and short (less than one minute). What has been included, what has been excluded, the language and the shortness of the report have been well-chosen to make this seem like nothing much at all and certainly not something any wavering ‘No’ voter should take any note of.


18 thoughts on “How to make a ‘potentially massive’ oil find one that ‘isn’t a big find’? Just lie, omit and minimise. Ask BBC Scotland.

  1. Graemeo Rab February 1, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    I can only stomach The BBC in Scotland and other assorted Unionist Propaganda in the hope that upon Scotland’ Independence we as a Nation hold something akin to South Africa’s TRC or Truth and Reconciliation Committee . We will then invite those of a former Unionist persuasion to explain themselves Live on T.V.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John February 1, 2018 / 2:46 pm

    Don’t go back to watching Unionist propaganda John , you are doing so much better without it , the blood pressure will only take so much !

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Alasdair Macdonald February 1, 2018 / 2:58 pm

    Yes, indeed, this is a particularly egegious example amongst a long trend of similar knocking copy, damning with faint praise, or ignoring.

    The big story for them is the status of women in the BBC, with the creation of the victimhood and probably subsequent beatification of Eleanor Bradford. Now, of course, dealing with the continuing inequality and harassment of women is a very important issue, but the context of this is pretty much navel gazing about the inequalities visited upon women who by most standards are pretty well remunerated, albeit less than the ludicrously inflated remuneration of some men. The issue is far wider: it is about the systematic denial of opportunities of equality to many women. It is a class issue. Around 80% of the impact of ‘austerity’ is on women and particularly women with children.

    The clear flow of wealth from these and other oil and gas finds, if more equitably distributed would have a significant benefit for the general populace and especially women. But, the current tax regime means that NO money will accrue to the public purse,; indeed, the public purse is paying TO the oil companies.

    The unionists want to crush Scotland to their breast, not out of love and compassion, but to steal the vast wealth which underpins the financial sector. It is Scotland’s oil, gas and renewables which ensure that Standard and Poor and the other ‘Ratings’ companies give the UK high ‘confidence’ ratings. And, in the world of illusion which is finance, things like confidence (and perfidy towards the rest of us) is all. An independent Scotland, removes these commodities as well as a huge chunk of territorial waters. And, if we are churlishly denied the use of the pound – i.e. a pound which Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also own – then all of the National Debt remains in England.

    That is the reason why the BBC omits or denigrates any good things about Scotland.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. 100%Yes February 1, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    Although an Independent Scotland would benefit from this oil I cant see where the people have other than the British State.


  5. 100%Yes February 1, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    I thought the picture was Mel B Bo Selecta but it’s not it’s Jackie Bird

    Liked by 1 person

  6. gavin February 1, 2018 / 4:48 pm

    I, for one, would like to see the minutes of the interview when Sarah Smith got the Scottish Editors job. What was she asked to do—or did she volunteer to run things a certain way? Gordon Brewer as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Graham Brown February 1, 2018 / 5:09 pm

    Will the director of BBC North Britain, Dolina MacKinnon Please Please show yourself and at least have the decency to explain why the standard of reporting and current affairs has dropped to such low standards, explaining her allegiance to the Conservative Party.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair Macdonald February 1, 2018 / 9:02 pm

      Her first name is ‘Donalda’. You are perhaps conflating her name with the redoubtable singer Dolina MacLennan, whose political outlook was considerably to the left of the BBCs heid bummer.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. manandboy February 2, 2018 / 1:00 am

    This is a big country, England, dealing with a little country, Scotland, unjustly.
    To be called a thief used to mean something, but the thief, England, has twisted the truth in order to keep the spoils.
    England is a country of criminals. Well dressed and well spoken, and mostly Tory, but career criminals nonetheless.

    Liked by 3 people

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