Former BP boss Tony Hayward has dismissed his successor’s warnings about Scottish independence, insisting there would be no impact on North Sea oil and gas.
He directly contradicted the firm’s current chief executive Bob Dudley, who hit the headlines two weeks ago when he claimed that a “yes” vote in September’s historic referendum would create “big uncertainties”.
Asked by a specialist website for his view on the consequences of Scots deciding to go it alone, Mr Hayward reportedly responded: “None whatsoever.”
He added: “Our industry is very good at working with whoever happens to be in power. It’s what the industry does.
“My view is the industry will continue to invest and life will continue.”
A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond said: “These are welcome comments which underline the commonsense position, confirmed by Mr Hayward’s successor Bob Dudley, that major companies like BP are continuing to invest heavily in the North Sea, and the offshore industry has a very bright future in an independent Scotland.”
Mr Hayward is a controversial figure, having been replaced in the top job by Mr Dudley in October 2010 amid anger at his handling of the Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which claimed 11 lives.
He was made a doctor of technology by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen last year, and is chief executive of Genel Energy.
Mr Dudley became the most high-profile business leader to enter the increasingly intense independence debate earlier this month.
On February 4, the day the company published disappointing results for 2013, the American said: “We have got a lot of people in Scotland, we have got a lot of investments in Scotland.
“There’s much debate about what would happen with the currency and, of course, whether there are connections with Europe or not.
“But it’s a question mark. I think all businesses have a concern. My personal view is Great Britain is great and it ought to stay together.”