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The decline and fall of North Sea production has long been exaggerated

MORE than 30 years ago, a report published in the Economist predicted 20 years' more North Sea oil production.

This was just one of countless predictions of the oil running out, and yet we are reliably informed by Alex Kemp and other experts that more than 50% of North Sea oil by value remains to be extracted.

Current investment by oil companies tends to support this, and of course this does not take into account any oil yet to be discovered and extracted from the Atlantic continental shelf.

The report of the Centre for Public Policy for Regions (CPPR), widely circulated in the press and headlined by you ("North sea cash warning deals poll blow to SNP", The Herald, December 20) predicts a potentially catastrophic fall in oil revenues which would imperil the future of a newly independent Scotland. Predictions always tend to be ultra-conservative on such matters, and in the case of CPPR tend to be slanted against the planned policies of the Scottish Government, but frankly anyone who thinks that the value of oil will relentlessly fall in this uncertain world must at least be misguided.

Furthermore, success for an independent Scotland is based not just on oil, but on all the valuable resources at its disposal, including oil, gas, water, wood, wind, tide and wave power, food and drink, high-tech industries, universities, tourism, culture and much more.

Ian Grant,

2 Ashburnham Gardens,

South Queensferry.

I QUESTION your report regarding falling oil revenues which will leave Scotland "worse off than the rest of the UK".

How can the Office for Budget Responsibility's accuracy in making predictions be taken as a given when in 2011 it was forced to downgrade its growth forecasts three times? Even Alistair Darling has questioned the credibility of the OBR's figures and its independence from the Conservative Party.

It is no surprise that the usual Unionist scare stories about the oil running out are being wheeled out – Westminster politicians will not want to lose access to Scotland's resources. Every time we hear these warnings, the dire consequences for Scotland do not materialise. The future of an independent Scotland will be successful due to our wealth of natural resources which involve wind and tidal energy, not just oil.

Rachel Heydecker,

Marchmont Street,

Edinburgh.

Contextual targeting label: 
Finance

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