UK Government Energy Minister Michael Fallon has insisted major North Sea projects which underpin Britain’s energy security are “only possible” thanks to the union.
Mr Fallon, who was on a tour of Inverness, the Cromarty Firth and Aberdeen yesterday, said both Scotland and the rest of the UK benefited from a single market which worked to ensure vital infrastructure was funded.
He cited the example of Cygnus – a £1.5billion gas project being developed by GDF Suez, Centrica and Bayernga – and said it was only viable thanks to the “broad shoulders” of the UK Treasury and tax incentives.
Infrastructure for the project is being developed at two yards in Scotland – Nigg and Methil – as well as Hartlepool on Tees-side, and it will eventually supply 5% of the UK’s gas demand.
Mr Fallon said: “Developments on this scale are only possible, and you can only get this gas ashore, if you use the broad shoulders of the UK Treasury.”
Recently, energy giant SSE said that a split in the UK market due to a Yes vote for independence was “unlikely”.
Mr Fallon claimed that a vote for independence would mean there would be “unforeseeable consequences” for energy suppliers and consumers.
“We have a single market at the moment. Scotland benefits from that and so does England,” he said.
“We take each other’s energy automatically.
“If you separate it there is no guarantee that England would take Scotland’s energy – particularly its renewable energy – and no guarantee that Scotland would take England’s nuclear energy.
“Either country, if separate, could agree to shop around for the cheapest energy available.
“You would be breaking up a successful energy market with unforeseeable consequences
“We would have to publish who would be paying for what. How you would finance future transmission projects, who would pay for the grid for connections to the Western Isles – almost everything would be thrown up in the air.”
Watch our interview with Michael Fallon below: