Correction: Office for Budget Responsibility massively underestimates North Sea oil revenues


  • Figures adjusted after correction by reader Matt

Remember the OBR was a George Osborne creation and that it regularly forecast doom and despair for an independent Scotland back in 2014. These same forecasts were widely and gleefully used by our Unionist media. Here’s how Energy Voice reported today’s story:

‘A new report predicts UK oil and gas revenues will be £400million higher every year from now until 2023 – in the latest sign that the North Sea is on the mend. In its fiscal and economic outlook, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said its revenue forecast had been revised upwards due to higher oil prices, increased production and lower costs. The Oil and Gas Authority recently lifted its long-term forecast for North Sea production by 2.8billion barrels of oil equivalent to 11.7billion barrels.’

They then predict tax revenues of £1 billion for each of the next five years.

Here’s how I do the sums:

11.7 billion barrels at $60 per barrel, at least, equal total revenue of $702 billion. Production costs estimated by the BP chief, last year, to be no more than $15 per barrel equal $175 billion. So that’s $527 billion or £376.83 billion, in profit, before wages and shared dividends yet the OBR thinks we only get £5 billion in tax revenue for the first five years. *So that would be £34 billion by 2050. Isn’t that a bit low? UK corporation tax at 20% would give us more than £75 billion. What’s going on here?

It will be interesting to hear if the Chancellor uses the same measly figure and if it’s challenged at all.


13 thoughts on “Correction: Office for Budget Responsibility massively underestimates North Sea oil revenues

  1. Andy Anderson March 14, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    Thanks for this and thank you for all the great news articles you provide. I have known for years the oil figures WM give us were lies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Matt March 15, 2018 / 11:25 pm

      The numbers here are the ones that don’t add up. The 11.7 billion barrels are estimated production levels between 2016 and 2050, not the next 5 years. Relatively simple to look up, don’t know how John Robertson couldn’t manage it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • johnrobertson834 March 18, 2018 / 12:01 pm

        Well spotted Matt. I need a checker! Sorted above now I think.


  2. achmony March 14, 2018 / 2:03 pm

    Yes! they ‘are at’ it again. Don’t ever let the natives know what they may really be worth. God forbid! the ‘smellies’, might want to be independent and then we, the UK ,will be truly ‘goosed’.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Alasdair Macdonald. March 14, 2018 / 2:05 pm

    This is what the ‘Power Grab’ is all about – oil & gas, fish, farming.

    Mr Gove, The COLONEL and Bertie Anderson want the fishing in UK hands asap – no transition period. Is this the same Mr Gove who was promising European governments that they could get access in return for trade? I see that he and The Colonel were trumpeting their Scottishness in making this demand. Anent fishing, there was a recent BBC article, by the wholly objective Sarah Smith on the BBC website about UK fishing. Scotland did not rate a mention in the BRITISH fanfare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 March 14, 2018 / 4:27 pm

      The fishermen should recognise the smell of something fishy -Tory promises.


  4. murren59 March 14, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    Yet another THUMBS UP professor…!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ludo Thierry March 14, 2018 / 8:19 pm

    Whilst Scotland is still a prisoner in this britnat mad-house it is good to see how the SNP manage to find every means to maintain pressure to improve Scottish life (even via the ridiculous and arcane Westminster procedures). Well done AisonThewliss MP for successfully applying the bizarre 10 Minute Rule Bill process to keep the Legal Consumption Rooms issue to the fore – since Theresa May had tried to bury it so very recently. Sorry Theresa – SNP will keep on your back and keep finding legitimate and popular ways to wear you down – Are you really sure you want to keep fighting on the ‘Scottish Front’ when your own party colleagues are lining up to stab you in the back at every opportunity? From Irvine Times below:

    Legal consumption rooms have ‘potential to reduce drug related deaths’

    Plans for legal drug consumption rooms have “real potential to reduce drug related deaths and ongoing harm”, an SNP MP has said.
    Alison Thewliss called on the Government to back Glasgow’s proposal arguing the status quo served neither addicts, their families or the public.

    The Glasgow Central MP said the Scottish Government supported the move with Scottish ministers requesting permission from the Home Office to allow for the proposal to go ahead, but it had not yet been granted.
    Ms Thewliss argued there was a “significant cost in not doing this” as she listed the money spent on ambulance call outs, emergency hospital admissions
    and police time.

    The Bill was listed for a second reading on April 27, but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of Parliamentary time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ludo Thierry March 15, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    What a difference a week makes (a few more ‘questionable’ stats here – both carried by beeb Jockland site – the Citizens Advice survey was reported on 07/03/18 and the Annual Bus Passenger Survey was reported today, 15/0318. NOTE the very different results. This shouldn’t really happen if both the surveys were properly designed and carried out. Can’t help but wonder if one of the surveys was less than fully sound in methodology.

    Another question poses itself in my mind. If there is an existing Annual Bus passenger Survey (with 8 years of comparative data to explore) why was a further survey arranged, in apparent close temporal proximity to the regular survey? Did CAB Scotland pay a professional surveying agency to carry out this survey. If so – is that really a good use of CAB Scotland’s, doubtless tight, financial resources. All a bit strange – were there any ‘agendas’ in play here?

    If memory serves, the Call UKaye show on beeb Jockland ran a call-in on the (relatively downbeat) CAB Scotland survey report. Bet they didn’t run another one on the significantly more upbeat Annual Bus Passenger Survey figures this morning. Mmmm – curious thing this Scottish media – could possibly teach RT a thing or three?: See comparison details below:

    Almost nine in 10 Scots ‘satisfied with bus journeys’
    • 15 March 2018

    Most Scottish bus passengers are happy with their services, according to a transport watchdog.
    Transport Focus found almost nine in 10 people using buses were satisfied with their last journey.

    The annual Bus Passenger Survey revealed customers particularly wanted punctuality, reliability and value for money.
    But the body acknowledged there was still work to be done to improve fare costs for passengers.

    The eighth annual Bus Passenger Survey includes views from more than 4,000 bus passengers in Scotland and 48,000 across Britain.
    The survey findings showed:
     65% of passengers were satisfied that their trip provided value for money.
     78% of passengers were satisfied with the punctuality of their service.
     Once on the bus, 85% of passengers were satisfied with the journey time.

    Meanwhile – last week:

    Campaigners call for improvements to local bus services
    • 7 March 2018

    Campaigners are calling for action to create “better journeys” for Scotland’s bus passengers.
    A survey carried out for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) suggested dissatisfaction with frequency and punctuality of services in their area.
    It also reported concerns about safety, cleanliness and value for money.

    The Scottish government said it was helping operators “keep fares at affordable levels” and assisting local councils to support services.
    CAS, which surveyed 4,600 people across Scotland, has described public transport as “a social justice issue”.

    Its report suggested that:
     64% are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied by the frequency of scheduled services
     56% feel the same about the punctuality of their buses
     58% feel that their local buses offer poor value for money
     60% think fare information is not good enough
     32% say the buses are not clean enough or are in poor condition
     16% say there is no bus service to their local hospital or GP

    To be fair to beeb Jockland site the reporter mentions that 2 surveys have appeared in close proximity and that the results differ.

    I don’t pretend to know what’s happening here – but it is a bit strange. My olfactory organ tells me that I can smell some of the political brown stuff in this wee tale of today’s Scotland.


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