THE BBC website had a prominent story yesterday about oil near Rockall. It was propaganda intended to make people think that Scotland’s untapped oil and gas potential is remote and uneconomic. The existence of oil and gas in the Rockall area has been known about for a considerable period of time. It is not news. It’s too far offshore to be economically exploited at this time.

The reason that the story is propaganda is because of what it omits to tell readers.

By contrast, the BBC has had very little to say about the Clair Field, west of Shetland, the next phase of which which is due to come on stream soon and which has huge confirmed potential beyond current investments.

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During the independence referendum, the UK Government, BP, the BBC and the rest of the mainstream media conspired to hide this information from the electorate and it is still being suppressed. Because Stock Exchange rules require honesty from companies, the BP website will tell you all you need to know about the Clair Field and Clair Ridge.

You may recall David Cameron making an unscheduled visit to Shetland just before the independence referendum to talk to oil companies? Coincidence?

I don’t think so. There were leaks from oil workers at the time that they had found another huge reservoir west of Shetland and had stopped drilling early, been sent home on full pay and told to speak to nobody. My belief is that this was an extension to the Clair Field on what’s called Clair Ridge, often referred to as Greater Clair.

BP is currently producing North Sea oil for $17 per barrel and expects to produce for $13 per barrel very soon. Oil sells for around $56 per barrel and Petroleum Revenue Tax was abolished in the 2016 Budget. Anyone who tells you that North Sea oil is not profitable is, at best, seriously misinformed. Despite very suppressed prices, Norway raised over £20 billion from its substantially state-owned oil and gas industry last year, while the UK gave more in tax breaks than it raised. That is the scale of Westminster’s mismanagement.

Hurricane Energy has made the largest oil discovery in UK waters this millennium, just south of the Clair Field. This has also been suppressed by the BBC and the mainstream media. Because Stock Exchange rules require honesty from companies, the Hurricane Energy website will tell you all you need to know about their discoveries west of Shetland. Hurricane Energy shares have rocketed in the past year.

The seabed from the Clair Field and all the way down the west coast to the maritime boundary with Ireland has similar geological characteristics but has not yet been fully explored. That said, a significant find was made off the coast of Lewis which is of a similar scale to those west of Shetland.

Exploiting this field would currently be considerably more expensive than carrying out further drilling west of Shetland because the Outer Hebrides doesn’t have any oil and gas infrastructure in place, whereas Shetland does. Exploration is therefore likely to focus on steadily expanding the rich pickings in the area west of Shetland, rather than starting a new frontier off the Hebrides.

Ever since the McCrone Report in the 1970s, good news stories about oil and gas resources have been suppressed to discourage Scottish independence.

For the BBC and the rest of the mainstream media, the Rockall story is newsworthy but the activities of BP, Hurricane Energy and others west of Shetland are not. Go figure.

Propaganda isn’t always about what the mainstream media and politicians tell us. It’s also about what they suppress.

Colin Dawson, address supplied


SO Willie Rennie said that the SNP would sell their granny if they thought it would bring them closer to securing independence (Rennie: SNP would sell their granny on Amazon for Yes vote, The National, February 21).

The National: Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie has address his party conference in Dunfermline

That’s right, Willie, I not only would sell my granny but throw in my grandad. What’s more, they would also go willingly if they thought they were helping to liberate their long-occupied country.

Does wee Willie know that his LibDems, just like Labour, were a home rule party and got into power with home rule voters’ support. They even managed to get a Home Rule for Scotland Bill passed through Parliament. And what happened? Sweet damn all.

Does he also realise that oil is being discovered in western fields in Scottish territorial waters (see also Tuesdays National) and that the Tories have handed out three new licences for other wells to gurgle out our peoples’ potential wealth. Don’t talk down our oil, because until independence it will be Britain’s oil, which we know really means England’s oil.

At the height of the oil price they were coining in £155 per second in revenue, and it’s creeping back up, as are all mineral prices. Gold hit such a low world price in the late 70s into the early 80s that we in South Africa closed up a few uneconomic gold mines.

Less than 10 years later we reopened those mines because gold had crept up to an all-time high, so much so that we started processing the very mine dumps where old methods had left some gold content. I lived for some time in the shadow of the largest gold mine dump in the world, in a town called Boksburg.

The town, 20 miles from Johannesburg, is still there but the mine dump is gone. The same rise in the oil price will happen and is happening. So don’t listen to the lies. The uneconomic rig which may exist will reopen and gurgle your nations wealth away.

If my story wasn’t true, then why are our Tory masters, who have no democratic mandate in Scotland, handing out those new licences for new oil fields in the territory of a nation with the potential to become the wealthiest country in Europe. But that’s only possible if we Scots have the power of independence.

Iain Ramsay, Greenock

IN case anyone doubted my dismissal of the gloomy economic forecast of Scotland’s future by the Centre of Economics and Business Research, your item in today’s National confirms my view.

A senior member of Bank of England staff at Westminster’s Treasury Review Committee, and in the presence of the Governor of the Bank, stated that they were “unlikely to be able to predict the next financial crisis”. He went on to say that “unrealistic expectations” were placed on economics and economic forecasting models.

This prompts two thoughts. One, that we must always and unhesitatingly dismiss the spurious claims of Unionist so-called experts who seek to denigrate Scotland. Secondly, to ask why government and academia have not abandoned the now discredited economic model that has only served to confuse our social and political life for 60 years or more.

Peter Craigie, Edinburgh

NOW that Nicola Sturgeon has asked us to avoid using the term ‘indyref2’ (Don’t call it ‘indyref2’, The National, February 22) each indy-vidual, indy-eed, the whole indy-genous population of Scotland, should begin to consider a suitable alternative.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon

As we are all aware, the treasured Union of Parliaments has been indy-cline for many years and the manner in which Scotland’s democratic will and economic interests have been cast aside by the present Tory government is indy-eed indy-fensible. However, we should not be indy-spair, nor be subject to any indy-cision over the next course of action towards a better future for Scotland, albeit of an indy-terminate timescale.

Theresa May may be indy-nial, but her dismissive treatment of the compromises set out in the First Minister’s paper, Scotland’s Place in Europe, is little short of indy-cent. But never fear, so long as we can rely on support from top officials in the EU and prominent figures such as Sir Indy Murray, we can be sure that Scotland will come out indy-pink.

Written indy-Ferry by a teacher whose spelling is indy-scribable!

Name and address supplied