There are three things wrong with the UK Parliament’s approach to the oil industry.
Firstly, there is no gratitude whatsoever. Over the last 40 years more than £330,000million has poured into the Westminster Exchequer, around £60,000 per head for every Scot.
Scotland’s resources have bankrolled successive Tory and Labour Chancellors.
They present any crumb of a concession as if it were a gift.
Actually, now should be payback time for Scotland.
Secondly, they have no long-term perspective.
The Liberal Democrats assume that oil prices will stay low. They won’t.
Once the current output war between OPEC and US frackers is over, prices will recover.
For example, OPEC last month forecast an oil price of $110 up to 2020.
However, even if prices were to stay at $70 the value of likely recoverable resources up to 24 billion barrels suggest a wholesale value of oil and gas of over £1,000 billion more in revenues.
Only in the topsy-turvy world of Westminster would such a vast resource be regarded as a liability.
Thirdly, it is clear what needs to be done.
We need a tax system which incentivises exploration, shared facilities and enhanced recovery and is sensitive to periods of low prices; and a tiny reduction from 32 to 30% in the supplementary charge as the major proposal is downright insulting.
The Chancellor’s limited and passing mention of oil in the Autumn Statement today tells us all we need to know about Westminster and oil.
They are quick to grab when times are good and slow to help when the times are tough.
The Tories’ announcement of an oil fund for the North of England tells us all we need to know about Westminster and Scotland.
They regard us as second class citizens to be treated with contempt.
Given the appalling track record, Scotland’s oil and gas are too important to be left under Westminster control for any longer.