Today’s Daily Torygraph has an ‘exclusive’ interview with the OPEC Secretary General, one Mr Abdalla el-Badri. You can see the original article here (http://archive.is/DZnOw) where I’ve archived it so you don’t have accidentally give them any ad-click revenue.
In this obviously totally objective piece (obviously!), titled ‘Opec head blow to Salmond: Scotland should stay in UK’, the article makes much of what is, we are assured, Mr el-Badri’s ‘own personal view’, stating that to him an independent Scotland would be ‘unthinkable’.
We’re introduced to el-Badri as ‘The head of the cartel that represents the world’s 12 oil-producing nations…’. Really, only 12 countries produce oil? Perhaps they meant ‘the world’s 12 BIGGEST oil-producing nations’, but I’m pretty sure that that perfectly innocent typo wasn’t meant to scare readers into thinking that the rest of the world will be against us. OPEC actually represents countries producing one-third of the world’s oil.
El-Badri is quoted as stating that North Sea reserves are “depleted”. It’s so depleted that one of the UK Governments many faces keeps telling us about record investment in the sector. Oil companies are known to do that of course, frequently investing record amounts in non-existent oilfields…
We are then treated to the fact that a rather large proportion (16%, according to them) of Scotland’s tax income would come from the oil, and are reminded of how ‘volatile’ that pesky substance can be. I don’t know why we don’t just give it all away, to be honest – it’s such a burden!
What surprised me though was the omission of several rather key facts. Facts which I would have expected such a ‘respected’ broadsheet to cover in an article on this subject.
…like the 16% of tax figure. What they don’t mention is that Scotland is the wealthiest part of the UK outside London/SE England, and that’s without the oil. They also neglect to mention that, again without the oil, Scotland’s tax income is almost exactly the UK average – around 99%, per capita. So that “depleted” oil is over and above that. If you add that 99% and the 16% (which you have to figure out in reverse, as it’s 16% of the total, not 16% of 99%) you get roughly 118% of the UK average tax per head. That’s close to a fifth more wealth.
For some reason, they don’t mention those things. But they do inadvertently admit that they’re true by quoting that 16% figure.
The levels of extractable oil still under the North Sea are disputed, but with estimates ranging from £1.5-4trillion worth (that’s twelve zeros), and with the previously untapped North Atlantic reserves just off the west coast (which could be 2-3 times what the North Sea has provided), anyone who says we’re about to run out of oil is frankly lying through their back teeth.
In their article, the Torygraph also fails to mention Mr el-Badri’s own background. Whether or not you feel it’s relevant is up to you, but I believe we should have been told that he held a variety of ministerial posts, for 15 years, under Libya’s Gadaffi regime. Indeed, he even became Deputy Prime Minister in 2002. Why wouldn’t they mention that? Surely his ministerial posts would lend an air of respectability to his words…
And why are we supposed to believe the words of the leader of the world’s biggest cartel anyway? This organisation exists purely to fix oil prices and make money for its member states. They’re like an unarmed mafia with a stationery budget.
Far be it for me to suggest that the Torygraph would ever spin a story so much just to keep true to their ‘God Save the Queen’/Rule Britannia/Thatcher’s-not-dead agenda. No, that would be quite wrong of me. And there’s no evidence to suggest that they’re prone to that sort of stuff, of course. Anyway, the piece was written by not one, but TWO trained (I assume) journalists, so both the facts and integrity of the piece must be rock solid…