Douglas Fraser, Business and economy editor, Scotland

Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

Come here for my take on money matters from a Scottish perspective

Global slowdown for black and distilled gold

Oil installation

There's both symbolic and a real significance behind Shell's announcement to close down and scrap two of its platforms in the Brent field, east of Shetland.

And it tells us quite a bit about the impact of global forces on the Scottish economy, which are also at work in the announcement today that Diageo is halting Scotch whisky distillery investment plans in response to weakening global demand.

The price of crude oil from the Brent field has long been the benchmark for the world's oil markets outside North America (where 'Texas light crude' has that role).

Production from the giant offshore field has fallen away. It used to pump 500,000 barrels per day. That peak was in 1984. For the past two decades, it's produced mainly gas, peaking in 2001.

One Brent platform, Delta, was permanently closed three years ago, and the only remaining one, Charlie, has its days numbered.

Shutdowns

Read full article Global slowdown for black and distilled gold

Grangemouth a year on: energy prices and business attitudes

Unite sign outside Grangemouth
The Grangemouth dispute ended with unions accepting changes to pay and pensions

A year since the Grangemouth dispute, and the energy markets are in an even more topsy-turvy place.

We're told by the Scottish Trades Union Congress that the dispute didn't change industrial relations in Scotland - though that's not how it looked from outside.

Read full article Grangemouth a year on: energy prices and business attitudes

Middle class obscured in a Scots myth

Yes/No banners
Studies have been trying to establish which groups tended to vote "yes" or "no" - and why

A month on, the referendum reverberates.

We've heard a lot about "the 45%", or at least we've heard a lot from them - the determination to keep the campaign spirit alive, to push on towards independence, and the sense of disappointment that they didn't get a majority on 18 September.

Read full article Middle class obscured in a Scots myth

The blast furnace of globalisation

Tata Steel logo

Steel is something of a national virility symbol - not just for Scotland, Wales and northern England, but for emerging and emerged economies for whom it has been the first burst of industrialisation.

The blow to Scottish economic virility 22 years ago, with the closure of the Ravenscraig plant near Motherwell, was symbolic instead of the end of an era.

Read full article The blast furnace of globalisation

The spending state we're in

spending cuts protest

It's time to talk about the state, as a historic shift in government spending emphasises the National Health Service and older people's benefits at the expense of quite a lot else.

That's the message from people who crunch the fiscal numbers, arguing there are fundamental changes under way, but not much public understanding of them.

Read full article The spending state we're in

Craig Whyte's broke stockbrokers

Craig Whyte

Just when you thought his 15-year ban as a company director had finally driven through a stake through the heart of the Craig Whyte saga... it's back again.

This time, it's the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ruling on Pritchard's, the stockbroker in Bournemouth of which he was company secretary.

Read full article Craig Whyte's broke stockbrokers

Taxes come home to Holyrood

John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon
Businesses will trying to pick up clues as to what direction taxation will take as more powers are devolved

Remember the referendum campaign? Well, you'll probably also remember the warning that taxes are a volatile way of funding services.

That argument was mainly about offshore oil and gas tax, which is the most volatile of government funding sources.

Read full article Taxes come home to Holyrood

More passengers down the ScotRail track

  • 8 October 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Hitachi train

There will be more space for parking your bicycle at railway stations, says the winner of the franchise battle to run ScotRail from next April.

That should be no surprise from Abellio, part of the Netherlands' state-owned railway company. Let's hope they can also handle trains that go up and down hills.

Read full article More passengers down the ScotRail track

Oil's corroding pipeline

  • 2 October 2014
  • From the section Scotland
oil platform

Oil and gas burned furiously through the independence referendum campaign. Quite a lot was said by people on both sides who should have known better.

It's now the subject of a conspiracy theory suggesting vast reservoirs were being hidden from voters.

Read full article Oil's corroding pipeline

Back to the future squeeze

  • 21 September 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Flags for sale

So it's back to austerity. The battling over future projections for an independent Scotland's budget can be binned.

It's time to focus on the budgets which Holyrood will have, rather than the ones it might have had.

Read full article Back to the future squeeze

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About Douglas

Douglas joined BBC Scotland at the moment the financial crisis struck in 2008, reporting on the meltdown at RBS and the collapse of Dunfermline Building Society.

His beat also includes close attention to the offshore oil and renewable energy sectors, and he takes a mostly professional interest in whisky.

Working in Scottish journalism since 1989, he previously worked for The Herald and The Scotsman, among other newspapers.

He has covered politics from the Holyrood parliament, as well as education, the arts and the Highlands and Islands.

He is co-author of the Political Guide to Modern Scotland.

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