UK

Scottish independence issues at-a-glance: Energy, oil and gas

The BP ETAP (Eastern Trough Area Project) oil platform in the North Sea around 100 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland Image copyright Getty Images

What powers does the Scottish Parliament currently have and how might they change with independence or further devolution?

This page summarises the implications of the referendum for energy, oil and gas - one of seven different themes. The others are: The economy and currency, EU membership, pensions and welfare, citizenship and immigration, defence and broadcasting.

More in-depth analysis on energy, oil and gas.


At present

At present, tax revenue from North Sea oil goes to the Treasury at Westminster.

The UK government also oversees the oil and gas industry in relation to ownership, offshore installations and pipelines.

Scotland has control over some environmental policy including setting targets related to climate change.

The UK government controls the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity.


After a Yes vote

The Scottish government cites estimates of North Sea oil revenues between £6.8bn and £7.9bn to 2016-17.

It says this could be used to "maximise the growth prospects for the future and to enable communities to benefit from our assets".

The Scottish government would retain a single UK-wide market for electricity and gas. It would also establish a Scottish Energy Fund, and has pledged not to make any changes to the oil and gas fiscal regime without consultation.

The Scottish government says it has no plans to increase the overall tax burden on the oil industry.

The pro-Union parties argue that oil markets are volatile and would not provide a surplus for Scotland.


After a No vote

The Labour Party says:

Tax receipts on oil should remain reserved, but a lower rate of fuel duty should be charged in remote rural areas of the Highlands and Islands. Westminster should work with islands councils to support the development of renewable energy resources and ensure grid connections improvements.

The Conservative Party says:

There should be more financial transparency and a way of "clearly communicating Scotland's fiscal balance sheet" in order to address "misperceptions" about oil and gas revenues.

The Liberal Democrats say:

Oil and gas revenues should continue to be treated on a UK-wide basis, with a single tax regime. Consideration should be given to establishing an oil fund when the deficit has been brought under control, allocating the proceeds to Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Energy policy could be dealt with by "partnership-working".


The policies under independence are taken from the Scottish government's White Paper on independence. Yes Scotland and other Yes campaigners do not necessarily share these positions.

Where Better Together has a stance, this has been cited. The separate Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem proposals are taken from their respective reports on devolution.

Both sides' preferred policies would be subject to negotiations following the referendum.

The Scottish government has said that following a Yes vote, arrangements would be in place for full independence from 24 March 2016.

The Better Together campaign has said that following a No vote draft legislation on devolution would be introduced by the end of January 2015.