Scotland would be bankrupt Sturgeon blasted for flip-flopping on oil

Sturgeon savaged over 'dark' Ukraine-IndyRef parallel

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On Wednesday, the UK Government gave the oil and gas field, which is around 75 miles from the Shetland Islands, the go-ahead. Westminster extended the licence for the North Sea oil field after it was set to expire on Thursday as part of a drive to remove all UK dependence on Russian exports.

Tony Miklinski, Scottish Conservative councillor for Cupar, Fife, blasted the First Minister’s previous opposition to the licence, denouncing it as a position only taken when it fits with the SNP’s interests.

Mr Miklinski told Express.co.uk: “Nicola Sturgeon’s position on North Sea oil is entirely predicated on what suits her Nationalist argument.

“It has nothing whatever to do with what is best for Scotland, the UK, or the wider world.”

Mr Miklinski added: “Eight years ago, in the run-up to the referendum [on Scottish independence], Nicola was all for maximum North Sea exploitation.

“Scotland’s oil would pay for independence and the more the better.

“Brent Crude was at $100 plus a barrel.

“Three years later it was $35 a barrel and an Independent Scotland would have been bankrupt.”

Ms Sturgeon and the SNP have previously campaigned for North Sea oil exploration that would offer an independent Scotland a “second oil boom”.

Mr Miklinski then referenced the current SNP ruling coalition with the Greens, and the transition to green energy pushed by the Scottish Government.

Dismissing this case, Mr Miklinski argued the geopolitical context of UK oil dependence on Russia demanded the UK use the remaining domestic oil reserves to their full advantage whilst the green energy transition is underway.

He continued: “Post the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it’s actually pro-Putin.

“Oil not extracted from our own sea bed will have to be found from somewhere else and EU countries are desperate for every barrel and cubic meter.”

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He added: “But our First Minister doubles down.

“She asserts that this just goes to show that we have to transfer to renewables even faster.”

Earlier this month, Ms Sturgeon reiterated her position against the Cambo oil field, as Russian troops poured into Ukraine.

The SNP leader said: “For the UK, the dependency on Russian oil and gas is much, much, much less than it is for Europe and for many other countries.

“What I think it means is that we need to, yes, consider short-term actions but actually the real lesson of this in terms of removing dependency on Russian oil and gas is accelerating the green transition.

“So for Scotland, the big imperative for environmental reasons but also I think now for geo-security reasons, is to make sure we are moving to renewable, low-carbon sources of energy even more quickly than we had previously planned.”

The UK remains dependent on Russian oil imports for eight percent of its energy supply, although the UK Government announced earlier this month all Russian imports would be phased out.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson forecasted the UK hoped to do so by the end of 2022, adding: “In another economic blow to the Putin regime following their illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK will move away from dependence on Russian oil throughout this year.”

Mr Johnson condemned Ms Sturgeon’s attitude towards North Sea oil, telling the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen he was committed to making “sensible use” of the UK’s own oil and gas resources, following high-profile visits to the Middle East to court alternative suppliers for the UK’s energy demand.

Mr Johnson told the Scottish Tory’s March conference in Aberdeen: “Are we not crazy to be talking about completely shutting down domestic production?

“Only to buy oil and gas at a vast mark up from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”

The SNP has been contacted for comment.

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