OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri has said that Scotland should remain part of the UK, questioning how long North Sea oil and gas will last.
Quoted in an article published in UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph Monday, Badri said that although next year's referendum – due to take place on September 18 2014 – has "nothing to do with OPEC", he warned that most of North Sea oil and gas "is depleted now".
The view is at odds with that of Scottish Nationalists, who believe that the North Sea has plenty of years ahead of it and that oil and gas will play a key role in making Scottish independence viable. At Houston's Offshore Technology Conference in May, Scottish Energy Minister (and Scottish Nationalist Party member) Fergus Ewing MSP said that North Sea oil and gas production can continue until the end of this century provided the right government policy decisions are made.
At the time Ewing cited the BP's Clair Ridge project, which is seeing the company further develop the Clair field with the aim of extending production there until 2055, as an example of the North Sea's longevity as a hydrocarbon basin.
More recently, at Aberdeen's Offshore Europe conference early last month UK Chancellor George Osborne criticized those advocating Scottish independence, warning: "When you hear big numbers bandied around that aren't impartial and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."