PERHAPS less so now, with the focus on reducing carbon, but for the last 50 years oil has been a strategic resource. Yet, how has it been managed? Well, the fact is that it hasn’t been managed. Not really, with a single exception: its taxation, and many would argue that even that has not been managed well. Grangemouth’s likely fate speaks eloquently to that ("End of the line looms for historic site", The Herald, November 23) As long ago as the middle 1970s it was decided that North Sea oil was much too important to be managed by and for the nation, and that it should be left to the market to take strategic decisions about the North Sea in their own interests rather than ours. The role of the state was simply to allow the tax revenue to roll in and spend on such as unemployment benefit and tax cuts.

Contrast this with Norway, a country with a population almost identical to Scotland. The Norwegian experience undermines any contention that the oil industry’s wishes must be met. It has been core to Norwegian management of oil production that this must result in maximum value creation for society, and that revenues must accrue to the Norwegian state to benefit society as a whole. The UK’s focus was on the tax.

In Norway a facility like Grangemouth would have protection from its government, stemming from its government’s powers to manage the oil industry at all stages. For instance, it would be in its powers to require, were it so minded, that oil produced from the Norwegian sector is processed in a Norwegian facility.

The negotiations in the 1970s for the oil industry to use Sullom Voe in Shetland to land oil produced in the North Sea followed a similar pattern, that if the community is organised and is clear about its own objectives then the oil industry can be successfully negotiated with. Successive UK governments have not only decided not to do so, but have decided that doing so would be the wrong thing to do.

Grangemouth’s fate has been a long time coming, but the day the numbers stopped adding up its fate was sealed in the private ownership, profit-driven model adopted in the UK.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

• WITH substantial grants of moneys to aid Tata steel in Wales and British Steel in England and with another £2 billion support package for England’s car industry (all welcome), wouldn’t it would be nice if Alister Jack could produce an equivalent industrial support package for manufacturing in Scotland (Grangemouth?). But Mr Jack is perhaps the least “interested” Secretary of State Scotland has ever had, so I doubt he will leave his patrician bunker to mingle with us plebs over something as common as work.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Read more: Sir Jim Ratcliffe's stricken Scots refinery incurred £360m in losses

As ye so, so shall ye reap

THE closure of the production capacity of the Grangemouth refinery should not come as a surprise to the Scottish Government in light of the hostility shown by the SNP/Green alliance to Petroineos and Ineos in particular. On its website today, the Green Party headlines "Grangemouth workers betrayed over just transition by fossil fuel fat cats". The regional Green MSP Gillian Mackay is apoplectic about the loss of jobs but fails to acknowledge the fact that her own party's hostility to the industry will have played a large part in Petroineos's decision-making on future investment.

There will be far-reaching consequences across the Scottish economy, as 4% of our GDP and 8% of our manufacturing base will be lost. When a country has a significant natural resource that it exports but imports products manufactured from it, it is defined as "underdeveloped". It is incredible that we now have that situation in Scotland thanks to Holyrood incompetence.

The Grangemouth refinery was the first to be established in the UK in 1924, attracted by a skilled workforce that processed locally-sourced shale oil. It is ironic that this workforce is now being thrown to the wolves as a result of a government that badly needs the jobs, taxes and revenues generated to justify its independence goal.

The plant produces a wide range of fuels needed to power the Scottish economy that will be required for decades to come as it is unlikely that planes, ships, trucks and any other forms of transport that travel more than 100 miles or couple of hours at a time will be powered by batteries in the near future and the transition to alternative fuels will require time and eyewatering billions of pounds of investment in creating manufacturing plants and distribution networks. So much for "just transition".

Our Scottish Government lacks any knowledge of, or empathy with, the business sector, indeed it is hostile to the hydrocarbon sector of which the Grangemouth site is a significant downstream player. Even the return to profitability of the nationalised Prestwick Airport is largely due to higher returns on fuelling aircraft; that will be diminished as we begin to import avgas. The Green Party-driven policy of removing gas boilers is in tatters and destined to join its flagship Deposit Return Scheme. Fergus Ewing has continually warned the SNP of these follies ("Ewing calls for SNP to ‘ditch dalliance with Greens’ amid heat pump row", The Herald, November 22) but he is a lonely voice of common sense within the party. A long-serving member and son of a party icon, even he is being sidelined by inexperienced, idealistic hotheads. The shocking news of the end of refining at Grangemouth is yet another symptom of the delusional policies being inflicted upon our once proud nation.

As the good book tells us, as ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

The Herald: Fergus Ewing is now a lonely voice within the SNPFergus Ewing is now a lonely voice within the SNP (Image: Newsquest)

London shares ferries blame

JOHN Ferguson (Letters, November, 22) is correct to draw some of the fire from CalMac. I come from Rothesay and remember how unfair some of the criticism was.

However, to then simply blame the Scottish Government is to stick one's head in the sand and ignore the fiscal situation, whereby the Scottish Government was set up to be so dependent on Westminster that it cannot deviate much from the UK mean.

As I have mentioned before, the amount of wealth that Scottish assets have delivered to the UK has been vast. Why do we still have second-rate infrastructure, including the ferries and ports? I submit that most of this wealth has ended up in the pockets of multinationals, in redundancy payments to the workers whose industries were destroyed in the last 50 years, and in world-class infrastructure... for London.

The ports and ferries (among much else) have been crumbling for decades, and there are simply not the fiscal tools for any Scottish government to do much about it. At least they usually try, and the ordering of six new ferries (two in Scotland and four in Turkey) is something, even if only a sticking plaster.

If the two ferries in Port Glasgow had been delivered on time and on budget, it still would be nowhere near solving the myriad problems caused by successive Westminster governments' neglect of capital investment all over the country. For decades. Except for London, of course.

Iain Cope, Glasgow.

Read more: Humza Yousaf hits back at Ewing as he brands SNP MSP a climate denier

Ferguson bonus is shocking

AS a resident of Arran, I was shocked and appalled when I read about the obscene amount of money which is to be paid as a bonus to David Tydeman as chief executive of Ferguson’s shipyard ("Boss of trouble-hit ferries yard to get bonus payout", The Herald, November 20).

Is this a payment for a job well done? Instead of a bonus, some if not all of the management should have been sacked for incompetence. The money which has been spent on these two ships is staggering and is still not enough to finish the ships and get them sailing.

If a private company had been in charge, heads would have rolled and decisions would have been taken to avert this total disaster.

The Scottish taxpayers are paying the price for this complete shambles and so much of that wasted money could have been used much better elsewhere.

M Bryce, Arran.

• HAVING read your article I conclude that it is not thought that Mr Tydeman should receive a performance-related bonus despite a poorly thought-out contract which entitled him to receive it.

I feel that the correct thing for him to do would be to decline to accept it, taking into account the high salary which he already receives. However I am sure that this is unlikely to happen as he is likely to follow the normal type of remuneration package offered to chief executives in the private sector in the UK. Failure means nothing, just take the money.

Perhaps Mr Tydeman will feel that he does not deserve his well-paid job to be topped up with a bonus (for what?), but I am sure that this is unlikely.

Malcolm Rankin, Seamill.