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« A haszelnut in every bite | Main | Hunky dory »

A not-so-cunning plan

Just as the coalbed methane industry in Scotland looked as though it was going to become viable the SNP administration in Holyrood moved with considerable speed to kill it off. Shale gas looks as though it has gone the same way. 

Now, these same bright sparks have decided that the way forward is to set up some "schemes" for the offshore oil and gas industry, while calling on Westminster to deliver taxcuts. None of this will help an industry in which production costs are too high for the current marketplace. 

So to summarise, the SNP's strategy is to throw tidbits to the parts of the Scottish oil and gas industry that are not cost competitive and to close the bits that might just be able to spin a profit.

I have to say, I'm slightly unconvinced that this is going to work.

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Reader Comments (91)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a post that ends with the words 'just saying' actually has nothing at all to say.

Jan 27, 2016 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterShindig


Shropshire isn't too far from Porthmadog. Nearly all coal fired & hand fed.

Jan 27, 2016 at 8:58 AM | Registered Commenterperry

Somebody posting here has previously been completely unaware that they are the sole occupant of an echo chamber. They now know who they are and will reveal themselves shortly.
Dilemma !!!!!

Jan 27, 2016 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

At what the hell is the pretentious 'yee' nonsense about, ffs?

Jan 27, 2016 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterShindig

@ perry

"Shit for brains sturgeon .......It's a good example that demonstrates how Scottish pollies are trying to cobble together a solution for themselves that as always, requires large sums of loot from English taxpayers." complete independence?

Jan 27, 2016 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered Commentersam

Annoying (and detrimental to my and probably others' enjoyment of this otherwise great blog) to have to skip over dozens of comments in each thread, written by a guy who first told us that he is an out of work reclusive who tries to keep out of normal society (work, earn, produce) and then starts lecturing us about the economics, finance and power infrastructure he tries to stay away from and knows nothing about.

A few comments here and there to have to skip over is not a problem. But half a comment section under each article filled with nonsense comments from the same dork is too much.
I think I will go elsewhere for a while to enjoy more knowledgable comments and opinions.

Jan 27, 2016 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

OK , its repeal and consequence.

The 19th century wage serf needed bread (large amounts of carbohydrate ) to work as physical hard manual labour remained a important aspect of production in the 19th century.

Todays office wage slave needs oil and machines both to travel to work and reduce work at home so as to maximise office time chips.

This can be imported more cheaply from the colonies.

Its a repeat of the past.
Simply replace food imports with today's machines and fuel.
Primary agriculture declined massively in the 19th century.
Secondary industry has declined in the UK since the 1970s ~

However it will not benefit the mean British person.
As in the past the population will simply rise as a result of migratory flows.
You will witness empty and pointless rises in GDP. (Activity )

We are witnessing the capitalist engine scaling up operations.
It generally has a negative consequence for humanity in general.
With knock on political and social consequences.
Also with a general loss of local and national redundancy.

Both the colonies and the core of empire become locked into a debt embrace.

Jan 27, 2016 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork


Is there a firefox addon that would allow you to automatically blank out comments from some of the more dorkish commentators?

Let me know if you find one.

I had believed that dork was our old friend Faux but this one seems to be an 'economist'.

Jan 27, 2016 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Sorry, Dork.

You're still posting nothing but weapons-grade, ocean-going, eye-splintering, trouser-wetting drivel. It is utterly free of grammar and syntax, both of which have been developed and honed over centuries in order to aid comprehension and communication. As a result, whenever you try to get your 'message' across, you are failing tiresomely. You no doubt have another gem of a theory which will blame the capitalists for inflicting such trivial colonial injustices using nothing but peat bogs and wealth tokens to be sure blarney stone where's my shillelagh leprechaun - but please, for the sake of this whole blog, keep it to yourself. Spare us.

Just, as they say, saying.

Jan 27, 2016 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterShindig

British people have become propagandised.
They believe capitalism has something to do with freedom and or enterprise.
I guess yee guys have come to love the dragon.
Beyond all help........

Jan 27, 2016 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Like or loath my syntax
How do you explain the trade data?

Jan 27, 2016 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Julian Flood:

Thanks for the three hands gag. I went back to the picture at the top, and was highly diverted.

As for the Dork, easily screened out; a few words is enough.

Jan 27, 2016 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm Chapman

Fracking will be allowed shortly after the next election.

The SNP say one thing and do another, you don't even have to worry about their lips moving, they are lieing.


Jan 27, 2016 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterNial

@ Nial

"lying" not "lieing" whether the lips move or not

Jan 27, 2016 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered Commentersam

Golf Charlie

a) I am not blaming anyone but those who have been in charge. I cannot possibly blame the forced bystanders who warned what would happen and were proven correct time and time again. And btw the SNP is still the only party who regularly remind the of the looming energy crisis at every opportunity. If SNP do get independence then of course they can be blamed for any debacle but you forget that for a long time they said they'd disband once that reason for their existence was accomplished. Whether that is still the case I don't know.

b) You ask "why is the SNP opposing fracking?",
i) A large portion of the membership now seems to oppose fracking. There was a heated debate at the conference where many false factoids gleaned from the green blob were quoted as fact and there was also vigorous opposition to the use of those factoids. The decision was to kick it into the long grass until such time as sanity returned. The main trouble is that the new influx of MP's are defectors from Labour and if you are lefty then it seems you must now be anti-fracking.
ii) Officially the SNP are still not anti-fracking. They propose a debate where the safety concerns of those new members are dealt with once and for all. This will perforce be after the election so that it does not distract.
iii) The unconventional gas has a legitimate concern by residents that it may cause an underground fire stretching from one side of the Forth to the other. Otherwise there is the green blob concern about CO2 targets which we may not agree with but which is driven by lying scientists eager for funds, not so much by politicians.
iv) Prior to the election the SNP had no position and welcomed the jobs these opportunities would bring. The change came about when Jim Murphy in desperation tried to make it an election issue. The moratorium put a stop to that obfuscation but at a price. Without Murphy's stupidity there would have been no moratorium!

Clear now?

Meantime have you noticed just how quick anti-SNP becomes anti-Scot on this blog? For a long time the plain fact was that the tories increased Scottish unemployment through sheer indifference. One example: If Scots had been in charge then Ravenscraig (the plant with the highest productivity in Europe) would have been sold off to a competitor to British steel rather than closed down because BS didn't want a competitor. However sat on the sidelines despite their golden share. But worse still is that having caused the unemployment the tories via a crazy faith in the failed "invisible hand" dogma they prats then had the cheek to repeatedly call those newly unemployed 'subsidy junkies'. Such motormouth stupidity is what caused the rise of nationalism in the first place. After the dead hands of tory and labour, the SNP and libdems together brought about gdp growth by heavily promoting Scottish products as quality brands and now the food and drink industries are booming - replacing revenues lost from the declining oil industry. They could have done more if they had charge of the oil & gas industry. Rud Istvan is right; it is only a managed decline. The oil was not even supposed to last this long. I am with you in saying we should be going for shale gas. However I can't even convince my own mother :)

Jan 27, 2016 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Your point about anti-SNP leading to anti-Scots comments is valid. The SNP is a disgrace to Scotland and her proud history. Whatever happened to the small nation that, not so long ago, seemed to invent everything?
Similar sentiments are being exploited in the Brexit debate. Many people seem unable or unwilling to grasp that you can be pro-Europe but anti-EU.

Jan 27, 2016 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

But the UK banking union was the EURO mark 1.

It is inconsistent and illogical to hate the EU and love the UK.
They are essentially the creation of the same type of people.

The SNP are fake nationalists of the Irish FF mould (corporatists)
Their programme was to join the euro and export the countries physical wealth to a even greater degree.

Indeed its highly probable Scottish "independence" would have replicated the Irish experience.
Reduced garrison costs and higher exports of physical wealth.
The paint the post office boxes green or blue experiment.

Jan 27, 2016 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Why do yee lads want to put your shoulders to the wheel so as to export more wealth ?
It is heroic but sadly foolish.

Its illogical captain.

The London boys have this figured out.
Via the CB apparatus force other countries into a mercantile position.
Then subsequently collect the physical wealth.
Rinse and repeat cycle.

Jan 27, 2016 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

British people have become propagandised.
They believe capitalism has something to do with freedom and or enterprise.
I guess yee guys have come to love the dragon.
Beyond all help........

The suspicion that the Dork of Cork is a sock puppet of Dr Russell Sietz has crossed my mind. No concrete evidence. Just a suspicion inspired by similar forms of batshit insanity, the pompous gibbering, and the sniggering self-aggrandizing. In the end, nothing but lots of noise and no signal - and a Keynesian stimulus in the form of people purchasing replacement computer mice because their scroll-wheels wear out faster.

Jan 27, 2016 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered Commentertarran

If you are saying that the SNP is only anti-fracking for political reasons, then it does not say much about SNP politics. Increasing hostility between the UK and the SNP has made dramatic political gains for the SNP, and you seem keen to maintain the tradition.

All politicians around the world, and their electorates have been conditioned into believing oil prices would only ever go up. The SNP is placed brilliantly to take advantage of this short/medium term change in economics, but would rather stick with Miliband's vision, and blame everybody else.

Personally I would like to blame the Scots Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for all the UK's problems, but it wouldn't help fix any of them.

Blaming everybody else for all problems, and gaining popular support, is easy. Having a credible alternative is proving very difficult for the SNP at the moment. Shouting down opposition to Green Blob antics is a Green Blob tactic. If you want to make the same mistake representing the SNP's beliefs, don't let me stop you.

Jan 27, 2016 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Steve Jones
The whole reason for the SNPs existence is that whatever Scots vote for anytime, anywhere they still get what the English voters want; even for the many issues that only affect Scots. As such they still have little power to do much anyway. The reason more windmills are built in Scotland is simply because there is more wind there, just as there are much more subsidised solar panels in the South of England but it all goes into the national grid anyway.

In most other issues the Scottish parliament does not affect England one jot so I cannot understand all the bleating from the English about the SNP but it comes across to Scots as "How dare you think you can do without your big brother holding your hand and wiping your nose! You should be grateful you sniveling wretches!" The main reason for the overwhelming vote for the SNP is that the other parties have been mere puppets of the English parties and the public simply had enough. The only reason the vote wasn't higher is due to the disgraceful FUD campaigning which the rest of the UK is now enjoying prior to the EU vote. German-style federalism would solve these issues and stop the acrimony and the independence movement in its tracks.

Jan 27, 2016 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

In 300 years time the euro drones will be clamouring to save "our culture" from the next big phase of capitalist expansion.

Their life force extracted , they will know nothing better.
A very sad bunch of roboten .

Jan 27, 2016 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

@ Steve Jones

Your point about anti-SNP leading to anti-Scots comments is valid. The SNP is a disgrace to Scotland and her proud history."

Some 50% of the Scots electorate currently vote for and support the SNP. They do so in the main because they have looked at and found wanting the quality of government provided by Westminster - all parties.

In what way do you consider the SNP to disgrace the history of Scotland? In what way do you imagine Scotland's history to be proud.

Jan 27, 2016 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered Commentersam

My mouse, broken on the wheel; what it could confess.

Jan 27, 2016 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Scotland does not deserve the arguably fascist SNP, its industrial Luddism and the return of the surviving ~20% of its population (in the new Little Ice Age) to subsistence farming under its Plutocratically-owned windmills.

England does not deserve the arguably fascist centre left, elite Tories, also committed to industrial Luddism and the return of the surviving third of its population to subsistence farming under its plutocratically owned windmills..

The Bish does not deserve the Cork of Dork!


Jan 27, 2016 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

British Pathe
Ireland 1965 , Scottish "independence " 2065 ?

Oh the promise of modernity .......sadly now a dystopia.
Modernity as advertised never arrives is always somewhere in the future....waiting for the true believers.

All that activity just leads to a legacy of costs which must be serviced (extracting from human consumption)
You should travel down to Corks lower harbour now.
A burb nightmare in constant danger of flooding.
What can I say .
All the evidence is in.
Yes guys just need to open your eyes.

Jan 27, 2016 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

BTW, Sturgeon's three hands show she is really the SNP Thugee version of the Goddess Kali, with the other three hands behind her back, fingers crossed, to offset her perpetual dissembling!

Jan 27, 2016 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

JamesG 3:24, I apologise that the post at 3:24 was me, not you. I had cleared my tablet of all saved cookies, caches etc, and typed on autopilot. No sinister motive/intention.

Jan 27, 2016 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The whole reason for the SNPs existence is that whatever Scots vote for anytime, anywhere they still get what the English voters want

Pretty much inevitable when a nation of 5 million is in political union with a nation of 50 million, no? The tail ain't gonna wag the dog. The only real solution for the problem you pose is independence, and yet the Scots voted against that.

Jan 27, 2016 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

BTW: does that say "World of Sin" in the picture, just behind our dear Nicola?
Strange sponsors they do have.
"World of approaching pain" might be equally appropriate ;-)

Jan 27, 2016 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergareth

SNP have the Reverse Midas Touch. (RMT) Everything they touch turns to shit.

Jan 27, 2016 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo Smith

@American Bloke
Independence without a national credit office is not independence.
It's a sham.
Ireland was more effectively free before separation from the UK.
As it had various grassroots movements such as the Co op system.

Scotland would get the union of the two banks and paint everything blue..
It would become a dark farce.

Jan 27, 2016 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Golf Charlie
You seem to be incapable of reading what I have actually written so please don't paraphrase me. To repeat, the SNP for the nth time is NOT officially anti-fracking despite the fact that a great deal of the new left-meaning SNP MP's now are! The moratorium was obviously political as indeed was the previous moratorium by the Coalition and the current stalling by Lancashire council. Welcome to the real world! Asking for politicians not to act politically is ridiculous. However the greens seem to think that the SNP is really pro-fracking underneath and the bosses of Ineos have been encouraged in private talks with the leadership. It's not as black and white as you prefer to imagine!

As for blaming anyone, yes Brown and Blair were clueless too. Happy now? It doesn't help! I vividly remember the engineering sector being described as 'metal-bashers' by Blairites. There is no any anti-English bias in an SNP vote - just a recognition of the blindingly obvious fact that Westminster has been a dead loss for the Scottish electorate and since for years they rejected Tory and got Tory therefore half of the voters eventually decided that UK democracy was a mere illusion so the best option was to leave it. If you live there then I'm truly dumbfounded as to why you imagine that voting for Labour would be any better.

And to repeat also for the nth time, the SNP are the only one of the main parties who have spoken out in favour of coal power. As for oil revenues; the true SNP stated position is not to rely on dwindling oil reserves, just to manage the decline better than the dead hand of Westminster which hinders growth and has been doing so for many years. Any extra spending is to come from extra projected growth not from dwindling oil reserves. Don't trust any canards of the English-based press!

Jan 28, 2016 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Bloke in Illinois

Note that this vote was the first democratic vote in 300 years for or against the Union and a 5% swing would have meant victory. If the English decide to leave Europe there will be another referendum and the vote would probably be over 50%. Note also that 400,000 English live in Scotland and most of those with a vote voted no which has an effect.

But independence is not the only option. In Spain there are autonomous regions. The USA enjoys Federalism and that's also an option. However until the Scottish parliament was formed, there were no options of any kind allowed to be even discussed. Progress is made by small steps.

Jan 28, 2016 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

JamesG, you have blamed the UK Government for all of Scotlands problems fot the nth time. Don't you get tired of it?

Jan 28, 2016 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@ golf charlie

3 major recessions in 35 years, the last one the worst since the Great Depression. Two of these recessions were made worse than they need have been by Tory incompetence. The recessions caused major unemployment all over the industrialised parts of the UK and considerable damage in West Central Scotland. There are areas of Scotland as in the rest of the UK that still have the life sucked out of them. Deindustrialisation causes health inequalities. Unemployment affects health as does poverty. To tackle poverty and health inequalities most effectively, Scotland needs to have control of economic and welfare policies.

McCrone recommended the setting up of an oil fund for the UK. That was ignored by several governments. McCrone suggested that the oil fund be used to help Scotland in particular. "Given the expectations aroused in Scotland, not only by the SNP but by other parties as well, and the considerable dangers of a move towards independence, it is essential that some tangible benefits should be provided.

"The task will not be easy since to many Scots it may seem that oil revenues are to be used in a hopeless attempt to stave off the day of reckoning for the UK and that in 10 years' time the condition of the economy and of Scotland in particular will be as bad as ever."
-McCrone said that if there were a Scottish Assembly it should have some control over an oil fund "to help in tackling the worst problems of the Scottish scene, particularly the dereliction and urban deprivation of West Central Scotland".

Deindustrialisation was, at that time,already taking place in West Central Scotland. the speed and scale of Thatcher's industry closures made the effect very severe.

It has been conservatively reckoned that a UK oil fund would be worth £450 billion by 2008. A more generous estimate puts the value at £850 billion.

Westminster governments have messed up the oil and gas industry and are in the process of messing up the energy supply industry.

These are "schemes" that Montford is scoffing at:

"Skills – ensuring that the sector retains its world-class workforce by supporting high-quality training and enabling redeployment and reskilling within the industry;
Exploration – support to remove barriers to exploration and improve collaboration between industry and academia;
Innovation – enabling the application of new and existing technology to improve production and processes and ensure that the North Sea can remain at the forefront of the global industry;
Finance – address issues of access to finance that can hinder growth and international activity.

and here is part of what the SNP government was saying to Westminster in 2012

"Options for Fiscal Reform
In recent years, investment in the North Sea has become more concentrated in technically
challenging fields, which can incur higher capital costs to develop. These fields can struggle
to be commercially viable at the current headline tax rates. This is further compounded by
the impact from the recent drop in crude oil price. A general Investment Allowance would
provide additional support for such fields and help to sustain future investment.

Analysis by Professor Alex Kemp suggests that such an allowance could increase investment
by £20-£36 billion over the period to 2050 and in turn boost production by 1.2-2.2 billion
barrels of oil equivalent. This would have significant benefits for the wider Scottish
economy. Scottish Government estimates suggest that it could support between 14,000 and 26,000 jobs per year across the UK, a substantial proportion being based in Scotland.

Oil prices will increase. Montford obviously thinks that it is stupid to attempt to retain the skills of the Scottish O&G workforce. He thinks the tax rates are appropriate despite what Alex Kemp might think. He calls the strategy throwing "tidbits". there is no fracking in action. It is unknown whether in the UK it will be a competitive industry as in the USA or uncompetitive as in Poland or how long it will take to know one way or the other. CBM will never reach the current levels of employment and value to the economy of the O&G industry in Scotland. Montford is a moron.

Jan 28, 2016 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered Commentersam

sam, boring, boring, boring, for the nth time.

Jan 28, 2016 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"Oil prices will increase."
And Haggis might fly.
How will they increase? And when?

With Iran's oil production coming back on stream, prices are going even lower.

Jan 28, 2016 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRudolph Hucker

sam, if you think this is the right blog for ANY political party to broadcast from, then fine. If any political party adopts a policy, whether in Government or not, UK or not, which is making existing energy/fuel/power problems worse, especially when it is based on flawed Green Blob logic, it is fair to say it will attract criticism at this blog.

You would rather attack anybody who disagrees with you or dares to criticise the SNP. Save it for people who can choose to vote for the SNP, it is doing the SNP no harm in the opinion polls at the moment. The Arab Spring has demonstrated how easy it is to motivate an angry mob into a common cause. Then it goes wrong, when the angry mob fail to gain all the different things they each thought they were owed, and had been promised.

Jan 28, 2016 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jan 27, 2016 at 8:58 AM | Registered Commenter perry

"Shropshire isn't too far from Porthmadog."

No, it isn't, but unfortunately, the BMR is in Powys on the south side of the Brecons!

Jan 28, 2016 at 11:12 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Whadda ya want? The whole place is apparently governed by people named after fish. Very strange.

Feb 3, 2016 at 1:25 AM | Unregistered Commentermojo

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