Oil shortages loom and Scottish crude looks like making lots of money for the Treasury


(c) oil-electric.com

One of the world’s largest crude storage facilities in South Africa is emptying fast as demand booms and the OPEC cuts hold firm. This may be an early sign of the serious shortages and consequent price hikes forecast only two months ago by the Aramco chief. In July 2017, he described the outlook for oil supplies as ‘extremely worrying’ and argued that the transition to alternative fuels will be too slow to prevent massive shortages and a price boom.



As Scotland can increasingly rely on it renewables, this is good news for the sales of North Sea and West of Shetland oil. Unfortunately, it’s coming too early for a Scottish Treasury to reap the benefits.

According to Energy Voice today:

‘Crude demand is now seasonally outstripping supply, tightening the physical market for some crude varieties to levels not seen in the last two years and encouraging traders to sell their stored oil.’


Another clear sign is the further increase in Brent prices for crude in November, up to $56.14 per barrel from $54.29.


Bear in mind the BP chief’s admission that it costs only $15pb to extract the oil. See:

North Sea oil companies making $40 profit on every barrel and costs are still falling!



Three more huge solar farms for North-east Scotland


(c) heraldscotland.com

As we move confidently toward 100% reliable renewable energy supply, another major step on the way has been announced by Scottish Water Horizons. They’ve just completed a £1.2 million, 5 000 panel solar farm at Badentinan near Lhanbryde. The electricity will be used to power two borehole water wells nearby. That means pumping water from the ground to a nearby water treatment works.

Even bigger are the planned 80 000-panel farm by Elgin Energy and the 200 000-panel farm on the abandoned Milltown airfield.

You’ll remember from previous reports here that Moray’s long summer days are a big attraction. Fuller explanation is here:

Install solar energy in Scotland? After the month we’ve just had?


An Edinburgh University Professor says North Sea oil and gas has only ten years left while the Wall Street Journal describes it as an ‘oil hot spot’ and Oil and Gas UK doesn’t recognise his figures. Who’s right?


Professor Thompson of Edinburgh University’s school of Geosciences said: ‘an analysis of production decline in offshore fields showed the industry is entering its final decade.’

Before going any further, I take it he’s not referring to or considering the massive discoveries already made west of Shetland? See:

Estimates of Scotland’s oil reserves West of Shetland now massively increased to around 8 billion barrels! ‘A super-resource now on the cards.’

Professor Thompson says also: ‘we need a bold transition to renewables, energy storage, improved insulation and energy efficiencies.’ I agree but aren’t we making good progress on this already? See:

Scotland’s energy 100% renewable by 2030?

Returning to the main point though, that we have only 10 years left. Already the Industry body, Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), has challenged the prediction that North Sea oil and gas reserves will run out in 10 years. Here’s an extract from their response in Energy Voice:

‘BP’s Quad 204 project started producing in May and is expected to deliver 450million barrels of oil equivalent through to 2035 and beyond. Statoil’s Mariner field, slated for first oil next year, could pump out 250million barrels over a 30-year period. BP’s Clair Ridge project is designed to continue producing until 2050.’

Add to the above evidence, the Wall Street Journal’s report yesterday headed:

‘The North Sea Is Suddenly, Surprisingly, an Oil Hot Spot’

See this extract from their report:

‘After almost a decade of decline, the North Sea energy industry is experiencing a flurry of deal activity. Major oil players say they are looking at growth in the area, and private-equity funds have built up war chests totalling $15 billion for North Sea acquisitions. Investors have sunk more than $16 billion so far this year into European deals for assets mostly located in the North Sea, a flurry that far outstrips energy deal activity in all but American shale country and Canada’s oil sands, according to Edinburgh-based energy-consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. The biggest deal came last month, with Total SA’s $5 billion purchase of A.P. Moeller-Maersk ’s North Sea-focused oil-and-gas business. Royal Dutch Shell PLC is planning to spend $600 million to $1 billion a year in the North Sea in the coming years, while BP PLC expects to double its production there by 2020.’

Is it possible that the Professor’s team’s enthusiasm for renewables, which I share, has made them a little unprofessional or careless in their assessment of oil reserves? They’re academics. They wouldn’t be selective with the evidence just to make a point, would they? Prof Thompson is English. He wouldn’t be strongly opposed to Scottish independence would he?


C’mon Common Space; which is it? Is the independence movement ‘in retreat’ or ‘re-bounding?’ Gonnae stop this inward-looking rumination and get on with attacking the Union?


Yesterday, Hugh Cullen’s piece in Common Space was headed:

‘The movement needs clarity to reverse the indy retreat’

He went on to say:

‘Opinion Polls taken since the 2014 referendum paint a picture of support slowly trickling away from independence.’

This is just wrong. Support for independence according to the last three Panelbase and Survation polls is holding steady at 40-46% and well within striking distance of a win after campaigning, a hard Brexit and further gaffs by a frankly laughable opposition leadership. Only two days earlier, Sean Bell, also on Common Space was headlined:

‘Support for Scottish independence rebounds three years after referendum’

Sean was referring to the last Survation poll putting support for independence at 46%, one point above the 2014 result.

So, what is Common Space for? Well, it seems to be a kind of talking shop for ineffectual liberal intellectuals which crucially will not make much impact on votes. The steady flow of hard evidence for independence from Indyref2, Wings and, I hope, me, just might gain votes. Infighting, especially undermining the SNP, will damage the Yes campaign. Regardless of your position on socio-economic theory, only the SNP can win this. We need to get behind them, direct all our fire against the Union and wait patiently till the great day. Then we can return to our other politics and, if that’s what want to do, attack the SNP. Isn’t that clarity, Hugh?

After that we heard that the SNP have paid a ‘huge price’ for not making the case for independence at elections and notably:

‘I was an independence activist before I joined the SSP and I’m infuriated to see the movement that we built from 2012 so dominated by a single party. It makes us weaker.’

Why be infuriated? The SNP are just far more popular than the SSP or the Greens or any other pro-independence group. They lost seats at the last election I know and Corbyn along with the mainstream media push for Davidson played a big part in that but the effect is already wearing off. Support for the SNP remains solid above 40% and according to the last Panelbase poll has climbed 10% as the Labour and Tory support falls again. See:
Latest poll of Westminster voting intentions suggests SNP are recovering from temporary effects of Corbyn and Davidson with 10% increase

As for the advantages of diversity in the Yes movement, is there hard evidence that that was true? I’d have thought history tells us that that diversity in a movement can result in infighting, lack of direction, lack of impetus and lack of clarity for the voters. Perhaps it’s too extreme for analogy, but ‘diversity’ on the Republican side lost the Spanish Civil War.



Footnote: After independence, I’d probably vote SSP.

‘Tax on derelict land could raise £200m annually for public services, Scottish Greens claim’ SNP can and should embrace this constructive comment from allies


(c) scottishhousingnews.com

I’ve just left the Insider magazine headline as it was. Can’t really improve on it. I know the Greens are not always as disciplined as I’d like re supporting the movement but they are in principle independence supporting so credit to them for this idea and I hope the SNP are ‘man enough’ to embrace it. According to their research published by the sturdy Andy Wightman:

  • there are 12,763 hectares of vacant land north of the Border
  • 69% could be developed
  • Bottom of Form
  • Top of Form
  • Bottom of Form
  • a tax on vacant land in Scotland could raise £200m a year for public services
  • Glasgow has 782 derelict sites, North Lanarkshire 487, North Ayrshire 281 and Edinburgh, where house prices are the highest of any Scottish city, 76
  • in 2016, 30% of Scotland’s population lived within 500 metres of a derelict site.
  • that rose to 59 per cent for those in the most deprived areas
  • bringing such sites into the non-domestic rates system could raise cash to build affordable homes and tackle the housing crisis

Wightman said:

‘The Scottish Government , in rejecting bolder land reform legislation last year, promised to consult on the taxation of derelict and vacant land and I hope this paper brings that forward.  Given the lack of affordable housing and continuing financial pressures on public services, it’s unacceptable that landowners can profit from withholding land suitable for housing. There is growing political consensus in Scotland that we need big changes to tackle the housing crisis, so let’s not be timid when it comes to giving local councils the power to tax vacant and derelict land.’

That looks like good constructive criticism the SNP should and can take heed of.


To see a comprehensive list, see:



Silver medal and second in list of best places to start a new business 2017, it’s….. Edinburgh? No, it’s Dundee. Sit down Edinburgh.


(c) visitscotland.com

According to Informi, a website which gives advice on starting small businesses, Ipswich is the best place in the UK to start. Ipswich? Really? Don’t you need five-fingered hands to run a business? Just joking, any East Anglians reading my blog. Are there any? Anyhow, Dundee came second which is brilliant. Unlike Edinburgh, Dundee, UNESCO first UK ‘city of design’ in 2014,  has my full unconditional affections as Yes City 2014. It deserves all the good news it gets.

There have already been a few good news stories about Dundee reported here recently. See:

‘University of Dundee is UK’s highest ranked institution for influencing innovation’

Major deal for Dundee-based Artificial Intelligence Company

Teckle! Dundee Good News Special

Here’s a wee extract from the report explaining why Ipswich and Dundee topped the poll:

‘Ipswich came top of the list, due predominantly to low pollution levels, high levels of ultrafast broadband, and a low rate of business closures. Dundee’s second place was mainly due to a very low churn rate of businesses over the past three years, along with low property prices.’

I’d have thought Dundee’s universities (see the story above re innovation) might have put it above Ipswich. I never hear of the University of East Anglia doing much newsworthy. And is pollution bad in Dundee? Surely it’s too windy for it to linger long?


Sunshine on Leith? Edinburgh the most prosperous city after London


(c) http://edinburgh.org/

According to a report in the Scottish Business New Network, it’s all good news for Edinburgh (including Leith?) these days. Even sunshine levels were up 10% on last year. The main point of the article however was that Edinburgh is the most prosperous city in the UK after London. I suppose I should be cheering this but I’m a bit restrained by wishing other parts of the country were sharing more in Edinburgh’s good fortune especially when it is the least pro-Independence city in Scotland. However, it’s still in Scotland, so here’s the evidence

  • most prosperous UK city outside London
  • fastest growing population after Manchester
  • the lowest unemployment of any major UK city in each of the last ten calendar years
  • adds the greatest value to the economy
  • highest average disposable income per resident
  • created the highest number of jobs through foreign direct investment after London
  • percentage of the workforce with a degree level qualification or equivalent higher than any other major UK city at 55%,
  • highest satisfaction rates with public transport among other Scottish cities at 89%

There’s more self-congratulation in the full article but my heart’s not in Midlothian.