The Nationalists have made much of West Coast oil in the last few weeks and it is becoming gospel that a new bonanza is about to happen. The only reason that it did not happen is because the wicked Ministry of Defence objected to exploratory drilling in the Clyde area in the 1980s.
According to the Sunday Post:
“Documents from 1983 show how the MoD’s “blanket refusal” to allow test drilling effectively ruled out establishing the full scale of any reserves in the Firth of Clyde.”
Cue the great indignation and the whipped up fervour; according to MSP Chic Brodie of the SNP.
“This is another McCrone-type deception of the potential use of Scotland’s natural assets. “I am angry that the people of the West Coast of Scotland, and indeed Scotland as a whole, have been deprived of the economic benefits and income that would have flowed from oil and gas production.”
David Lambie, ex-Labour MP from Ayrshire claimed that he had ‘been told’ by key figures in Margaret Thatcher’s government that there was oil in the Firth of Clyde but that exploration had been blocked.
Let us leave aside the notion that key figures in a Conservative administration would confide such a thing to a Scottish Labour MP (which would be a michty dumb thing to do).
Let us also leave aside the notion that Margaret Thatcher of all people would have allowed her Defence Secretary to prevent her from reaping a bonanza from the oil. After all we are speaking of people like Lord Carrington, Francis Pym, John Knott and Michael Heseltine – and we all remember how the Cabinet bossed her about, poor woman.
Let us leave aside the notion that a giant international oil company keeping quiet about a huge oilfield it had discovered is a bit unlikely.
Let us also leave aside that the Cold War ended in 1990 and that quarter of a century has elapsed since then – and if the Labour government of Tony Blair had known about oil in the Clyde, what would they have done with it? Left it there? Ignored it?
That the British government knew and knows about vast West Coast oil reserves flies in the face of reason.
Let us then abandon reason and look at what evidence was found for the existence of West Coast oil.
The Post article says this;
“BP then applied for a production licence in the summer of that year for a large area of sea spanning the breadth of the Firth of Clyde. Letters between the Department for Energy and MoD show defence chiefs asked for no drilling rigs in this area and BP did not pursue its application.”
BP did carry out some seismological and geological surveys in the Clyde area between 1984 and 1988.
They found no oil.
A Freedom of Information request from Mr Brodie gained this response from the Dept of Energy;
I am writing to advise you that, following a search of our paper and electronic records, we have established that the only information we hold in the scope of your request is:
1. A reference in a spreadsheet to a licence held covering an area in the Firth of Clyde. An extract from this spreadsheet is set out below:
Licence Number PL262
Operator BP Petroleum Development Limited
Start date 06-Apr-84
This may be viewed here; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/oil-gas-exploration-in-the-firth-of-clyde-foi-130568
And that is that. No other documents
Here is a thrilling account of how a group of Nationalists went down to the National Archives and found ‘documents’ which were ‘dynamite.’ Mr Brodie has these documents and has had them since last year – he is supposed to have given them to Mr Salmond and they will no doubt be published.
Business for Scotland invented an oil boom just waiting for independence on the basis of this.
The British government does not have these documents referred to and they have not been published by the Nationalists. They exist on hearsay.
Do they exist?
If they did exist, what do you think Mr Salmond would have done with them in the last year?
BP relinquished their license to explore the area in 1988 after finding no reason to continue exploration work in the Firth of Clyde while the MoD said that the information relating to the surveys done may have been destroyed.
Well obviously there’s been a cover up eh? First thing that comes into mind. Conspiracy – any rational person would think that first. Wouldn’t they?
There’s no mystery to the National Archives- you go in, look at the catalogue then order the documents you want. Then you go and sit down at your desk. Within 30 minutes or so the documents are placed in front of you.
The National Archives save about 1.4% of Government paperwork each year- and it fills about 1 mile of shelves. They have 60 miles of shelving in the basement which is why they have outlying depots and you must take care to order the documents you want before you go there, using the online catalogue.
The rest of the paperwork, judged as of little or no use by departmental historians- is destroyed. This is routine. Nothing sinister or underhand – just normal, otherwise they would need nearly 100 miles of shelving a year to store it. As it is they fill a mile.
The reason there is no documentation on West Coast oil is because none of the paperwork was deemed worth saving. That’s it.
There is a Clyde oil field and a Clyde platform – but it’s in the North Sea. Maybe they got confused?
If there is oil off the West Coast of Scotland in the Clyde area then I’m a lizard man working for the illuminati and you’d better get a tinfoil hat now!