20th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Embracing austerity (Ian Scott)

As the predictable, horrifying conse­quences of our referendum become apparent – more massive cuts in welfare expenditure, more massive cuts in our education and health budgets, and even greater moves to privatise anything that the City and its friends can make a killing on, isn’t it suitably typical of our unionist friends to take a perverse delight in the fall of the value of oil.

Of course anyone with the slightest knowledge of the international trading markets has had the sense to sit back and observe, but only the dullard could dec­lare the current price as being fixed and permanent.

Who only knows where the OPEC end game will finish, but one thing is for sure, making a judgment now on future oil prices is quite absurd.

Shetland, never having had experi­enced the 40-odd years of Thatcher economics that has blighted the most of the rest of Britain, eagerly plumped for a return to the 1930s and embraced in­creasing austerity.

Austerity for others of course, not for me. Sadly by voting “no” we have, whether we like it or not, con­demned vast swathes of Scotland to return to the poor house, the food bank and the street.

Our council, of course, now glories in achieving in what it has called a sustain­able budget, whatever that is supposed to be. This sustainable bud­get, this guff, is designed merely to try to give a credible veneer to what the reality is.

It is fairly obvious, even to the dullard, I expect, that if all our services are cut, all our spending is cut, our youth grants abolished, in effect everything cut, then we may end up with a lot of things but it is certainly not sustainable.

What in fact do they mean by a sustainable budget? If I am not mistaken, it means that Messrs Cam­eron and Clegg and the rest of them are very happy indeed, and our council, like far too many others, are happily dancing to their tune.

In recent years we have seen our leading councillors traipsing around Scot­land, being lauded, wined, dined and patronised by their establishment friends, and just to emphasise how ridiculous they are, they were awarded a prize by The Herald, praise indeed.

In conclusion, however grim the future appears to be for Scotland, the one thing that we have to look forward to in the forthcoming elections is the virtual extinction of both the Liberals and the Labour Party. Just reward for their behaviour.

Ian Scott
Braehead,
Scalloway.

25 comments

  1. Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

    Very well put Ian.
    I am sure that there are many that voted ‘NO’ now regret that choice, but there will always be those that are quite happy, even ecstatic with the status quo.
    Hopefully, for the future betterment of our entire society things will change and the ‘conscientious objectors’ becoming more open-minded and no longer blinded by false hope, empty promises from Westminster, the union, the flag of a deeply flawed and bankrupt country whose ‘Empire’ was acquired only by force at the expense at thousands of innocent lives – only to leave most of those same countries in a shambles, after they were pillaged and robbed of their natural resources!

    Not to mention of course, still to this day, singing a dirge National Anthem about a person instead of the country – what an embarrassment that is eh?
    ‘Great Britain’ ? Think again!
    By the way, I was born in England, so no axe to grind – I just express my honest opinion about just a few of the many unjust and shameful things that our country has done (and still does) in my (and YOUR) name.
    Rant over (for now)

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      I don’t regret voting No, quite the opposite. Not for sentimental reasons but because the prospectus on offer simply didn’t stack up..

      And while I am not a royalist, I must point out that “God Save the Queen” cannot be a “dirge” because it’s about someone who is living, unlike, dare I say, the elegy “Flower of Scotland”.

      Reply
    • Steven Jarmson

      I voted no because Independence”light” looked worse than being a full member of the UK.
      The mere notion of sharing a currency made me shiver. We would have been weaker than the gnats claim we are now.
      Just to add a bit to the empire sneers the gnats seem to despise so much, many of the senior commanders, government figures, soldiers and administrators of the British empire were Scots.
      What do you think Glasgow and Edinburgh were built from? Good old fashioned imperialist money we, as Scots, stole from the colonies.
      And just one final point of empire, Shetland is technically an imperial prize Scotland still claims to this day, along with our natural resources.
      If, you’re so upset by Shetland being relatively sheltered from the ups and downs of the UK economy, you’re always free to move anywhere within the UK.

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        “Independence light”? so was there a heavy version Steven? As you`ve no doubt read since the referendum a currency union was the best way to go for both Scotland AND England, in particular for England as without Scotlands wealth their £1.5 Trillion UK debt would have gone through the roof, on top of that Mark Carney had already set up a contingency plan in the event of a currency union prior to the result. [in other words it was all a big bluff from London headquarters] and btw we already share a currency union [hope it doesn`t make you shiver too much?]
        This “Empire” that you talk about is long gone, sadly, for the UK they still think they are a major player on the worlds stage, thus we pay dearly £3 Billion per year for Trident [even although we can`t ever use it without the US giving us the codes] But hey! let`s pretend we`re still the great “British Empire”,
        I take it Steven, you resent the fact that the “Scottish” government gives you free prescriptions, free student fees, the largest funded council in Scotland, free nursery places, an NHS that will not be made private [unlike England]? …yeah…selfish swines that they are.
        well on behalf of this “Yes” voter let me thank you for another 5 years of Austerity, our foodbanks, our 1 in 5 children living in poverty [1 in 2 in certain parts of Glasgow] our £1.5 Trillion debt, but most of all, let me than you for helping London take 90% of our oil and gas and then pretend that we`re “better together”.

      • John Tulloch

        Aren’t the Uk, primarily, the English also going to take 90 percent of the electricity generated in the “Saudi Arabia of renewable energy”?

        Aren’t UK consumers expected to foot the bill for the submarine cable reuired to export the electricity from Shetland’s proposed VE Windfarm at £0.5 billion-ish?

        Provided they don’t switch on their brains in Westminster, meanwhile.

      • Steven Jarmson

        We’re not in a currency union Robin, we use the independent currency of our independent country. The pound is the UK currency of the UK and Scotland is a region of the UK. Sharing a currency with a foreign country is utter madness, and if Scotland left the UK that would have been the case, and as the smaller partner Scotland would inevitably have been the weaker in negotiations when it came to setting budgets, which would have had to been jointly agreed.
        The contingencies put in place by the BoE were what you call thinking ahead and planning for any outcome, that’s just basic sense, unlike the yip campaigns “white paper” which was just a wish list.
        The UK may well have been better off within this currency union with Scotland that the yips wanted, but I can almost guarantee no political party who wanted to ever be re-elected would have agreed to it. It would have been the end of any political party to be seen cow-towing the Salmond and his Scottish National (Socialist Democratic) Party.
        As for trident, we would have been paying for it by default if we’d joined a currency union, even the SNP were forced to admit that.
        You make the point of oil and Shetland being the highest funded council in the country, well, by SNP rhetoric we’re actually under funded due to the majority of oil sitting in Shetland waters, 90% of the money from Scotland’s oil isn’t going to London, its Shetland oil money that’s going there, and incase you never noticed two thirds of Shetland voters said that’s fine.
        I actually don’t think prescriptions should be free, those with the means should pay. Instead of subsidising the wealthy we should be ensuring only those who need get benefits.
        Scotland doesn’t get “free” tuition fees, they are deferred until you qualify, that’s like saying the NHS is free, it isn’t, its free at the point if delivery, very different.
        Its getting very very boring hearing about food banks, they exist everywhere, not just in the UK, but I will tell you I know several recipients of food bank handouts, they all have smart phones and Sky TV, I work full time and don’t even have Sky.
        1 in 5 children is in RELATIVE poverty. If you understood the difference between actual poverty and relative poverty you would know relative poverty will always exist due to the way its calculated. Which, just to educate you a little (you seem to need it). Relative poverty is calculated by taking the income of everyone into account and then (usually) counting the bottom 20%-25% as relatively poor compared to the rest. The only way to get rid of relative poverty is to pay everyone exactly the same amount of money, which would then mean we’re all poor.
        As the saying goes, not everyone can be rich, but, everyone can be poor.
        Many of the ridiculous arguments for independence push the anti-austerity agenda. Now, I’m not entirely pleased with much of the measures and things being done in the name of austerity, but, its surely better to get things under control rather than spend another few billion here and another few billion there in the hope that it will make everything ok in the end. Whilst we’re happily racking up the credit card on more free stuff for the wealthy rather than the needy the interest is growing every minute.
        An independent Scotland would gave had very high interest rates due to having no credit rating, so We’d have had to pay well over the odds for you’re free-be life.

      • Ali Inkster

        Robin I don’t know what you’ve been reading but pretty much everything you wrote is wrong. Starting with the currency union, Yes we are in a currency union now but it only exists because of the political union. If as you claim there was to be a currency union between the newly independent scotland and the rest rUK and if it is as you claim that scotland would be th rich partner then that would mean that rUK would be in the position that now faces Greece in their currency union with the rEU. Now why would any one do that in your fantasy world?
        As for former empire why then does Scotland still cling on to the colonies of Orkney and Shetland? It seems to me imperial habits die hard.
        And the NHS, your political masters in the SSnp have used just as much private contractors in the NHS in scotland as the Tories and Labour before them have used in England, all this while withholding £ billions in government funding from the people. Selfish indeed.
        And maybe you could explain to this NO voter why Shetland should surrender 99.99% of its oil to fund an independent scotland that 64% of us want nothing to do with?

      • Steven Jarmson

        Yes there is an independence”heavy” Robin.
        Its that simple.
        Being able to set its own budget is one of the mantra’s of Scottish national policy.
        In a shared currency you cant do that. Each side has to agree the others budget.
        Currently we DON’T share a currency, we use our own independent currency which belongs solely to our own independent country. Which Scotland is a region of.
        It may indeed have made financial sense to have a currency union in the event of the yip voters winning, but it would have been political suicide for whoever approved such a union. There’s more to both politics and finance than simple numbers, emotions would have been running high in the UK if Scotland had voted to leave and in such a scenario no political in their right mind would have allowed Scotland to join the pound. In short, we’d have had to join the ever successful Euro.
        Now, you’ll probably say something like “emotion has nothing to do with it.” What is Scotland or the independence movement if not based on emotions?
        I have never felt less Scottish than I do now, I used to call myself Shetlander, Scottish, British. Now, I’m Shetlander, British. At a push I’m Scottish. That’s emotion.
        Whilst I disagree with some of the austerity measures put on place by the Con-Dems, I also recognise both the need to cut budgets and the right of the parties to govern, based on democracy.
        I wouldn’t vote SNP if I was paid a million pounds, but again, based on democracy, I accept their right to govern.
        I voted no in the referendum, as was my democratic right, but the yip voters don’t seem to think democracy applies in this case.
        It may have been selfish of me to vote no, one of my key worries was what will happen to my bank balance, but that is my democratic right to make that decision.
        Lastly, tuition is Scotland ISN’T free, prescriptions ARE NOT free, they are delivered free “at the point of delivery.” I happen to disagree with providing free to all benefits, this is effect the Scottish “government” giving freebies to those who have the means to pay. I would rather see targeted benefits so as to lift those one in five children out of RELATIVE poverty, which in itself is impossible due to the fact relative poverty exists in any society where people aren’t paid exactly the same.
        Now, maybe in your airy fairy left of the left head you think giving free stuff to the wealthy is fine, but in my much more centre left head I don’t.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Wait!..I`m confused? So let`s get this right Steven, you say “We`re not in a currency Union”, but Ali Inkster says “Yes we are in a currency Union”? So are we or aren`t we?

        “Sharing a currency with a foreign country is utter madness”, Guess you`d better tell all of these countries that already “Share” a currency Union?… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currency_union

        “and as the smaller partner Scotland would inevitably have been the weaker in negotiations when it came to setting budgets”, I gather you think size “Does” matter then?… Hmm apparently not :http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8bf832a8-b984-11e3-b74f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3RYn4zzg1

        “As for trident, we would have been paying for it by default if we’d joined a currency union”

        “But the Sunday Herald can reveal that the cost of dismantling all the UK’s nuclear warheads was officially estimated as being significantly lower – less than £150m – by the MoD in 2006, in answer to an MP asking for a breakdown of the nuclear decommissioning costs”, That figure would be over the timescale 5/10 years slightly cheaper than £300 Million per year I`d say?

        As far as “It`s Shetlands Oil”, really?..I had no idea that Shetland owned the entire North sea? here was me thinking it was only around 25%, but then again I`ve always understood the logic of sharing what I had with 66 million people rather than 5 Million.

        The costs incurred with “means testing” far outweighed having a straight forward “free prescriptions” for all.

        While I accept that student loans have to be payed back [once that student reaches a certain income]
        According to the Scottish Governments website

        “Eligible Scottish domiciled students studying full-time in Scotland are not required to pay tuition fees if studying for a first degree or equivalent”.
        http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/UniversitiesColleges/16640/financial-help

        “Its getting very very boring hearing about food banks”,
        Sorry to hear that Steven, but please be so kind not to tell Angela Nunn, who single handed runs Shetland’s only food bank that,..thanks

        You`re right again Steven, there`s relative poverty and there`s [and I hate to educate you this time]
        “Absolute Poverty” which also increased in 2012/13
        “In 2012/13, the rate of absolute poverty (BHC) increased to 17 per cent or 880,000 people, an increase of 100,000 over the previous year”
        http://www.scotland.gov.uk//Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/IncomePoverty/povertybrief

        With regard to “Austerity”, I`m afraid I have to disagree with you [again../sigh] “Slash and Burn” doesn`t work “Austerity” doesn`t work, it may work IF everyone was in a decent job paying their taxes into the Governments coffers, but when you have millions of your workforce on Zero hour contracts and minimum wages, where is this money coming from to pay off £1.4 Trillion UK debt?
        The debt, [under Osborne`s pathetic mismanagement] is going nowhere fast, while people struggle, and will be doing so for the next 5 years until he moves the goalposts [again] for failing to reach his next target.
        Nicola talked of utilising around £180 Billion [as an example] over the next 5 years for inward investment and to boost the economy, positive progressive politics, “Speculate to accumulate” Does work, [I`ll bet Jim sMurph wished he thought that one up?]

        Incidentally, Scotland Can`t “rack up the credit card”, because [as I`m sure you`ll know] we can`t borrow money, the UK can on our behalf, then share it with our “Better Together” friends, and of course we`ll get the bill for ..erm…ALL this money that we`ve needed to borrow in the first place [ever]

        Sorry, I thought they were “Our” freebies, are you saying you insist on paying for everything Steven?

        Ooh,… maybe you could pass on to Ali, IF he`s thinking of having a party, I`m sorry I couldn`t afford to come, not once he charges me for the corkage and entrance fee. 🙁

  2. David Spence

    ‘ ‘Empire’ was acquired only by force at the expense at thousands of innocent lives – only to leave most of those same countries in a shambles, after they were pillaged and robbed of their natural resources! ‘

    Looks like a description of the US Foreign Policy, Charlie lol

    Mind you, the US Foreign Policy is controlled and guided by their greedy, selfish Banking System. Why do you think the USA has been responsible for so many wars and conflict? War and Conflict are massive profits for the US Banks.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      David,

      If, for example, you were an Egyptian and the Sudanese government decided to dam the Nile and divert all its waters into irrigation projects in the Sudan and/or offered to sell it to you at a price set by them, what would you expect your president to do?

      Reply
  3. James Howitt

    Would these be the same dullards who forecast in their white paper that oil would be S113/ barrel and would generate tax revenues of £57bn over the next 6 years? Or perhaps the same dullards who are now begging Westminster to alter the tax regime in the NS further (considering the taxpayer is almost paying oil firms to exploit the strata) in order to squeeze the last drop out of very expensive fields. Perhaps these are the same dullards who understand that a currency union without political union doesn’t really work (see Greece).

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      James give me one example of anyone predicting the price of oil prior to the Ref?…give me an example [just one] of anyone predicting that the oil price would fall to $40 per barrel?….tell me what the oil price will be in 2 years time?….No?….thought not,…. taking the average price over the preceding years before Sept, the figure of $113 was an average taken by almost every oil expert in the world , if you can [magically] foresee the price of oil from now and over the next 5/10 years you`ll be one of the wealthiest men on the plant.

      Let`s not forget, that by the time Scotland actually became independent what would have been the date? 2016, 2017, later? what will the oil price be then James?

      Westminster is STILL responsible for taxing oil companies, [Not the SG] last year the upped their taxes by 12% [bringing them up to 32% tax] and this year have massively helped them, during lean times, by reducing that tax burden by?….you`ve guessed it…2%…so this “Pull and Share” and “Broad shoulders” of being part of the UK is complete and utter tosh, the UK Government will bleed dry the oil industry as long as they possibly can.

      As far as your “Currency Union” comment goes, are you suggesting that in order for Scotland and England to have a successful currency union one country has to rule the other?

      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e635505a-328f-11e4-a5a2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3SUeAZABN

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson,

        Many people warned it was unwise to assume the oil price would stay over $100/barrel.

        In my lifetime, the price of oil has lurched, spectacularly, between high and low, for example, when OPEC pushed the price sky-high in the 1970s, new fields were opened up in other parts of the world and the price fell. A later price war within OPEC over quota-busting caused the price to fall to about $10/barrel, causing more expensive fields to shut down.

        This was followed,recently, by shortages due to further price manipulation by OPEC, pushing the price to $150 which prompted technological breakthroughs which have boosted US production, again, lowering the price, followed by yet another price war by OPEC, again, trying to squeeze out more expensive production – like the North Sea – where the effects have been severe..

        Too many people have swallowed the “Peak Oil” fantasy put about by the renewable energy and “green” lobbies, like WWF, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

        Scotland might do well as an independent country, however, you can’t depend on the oil price staying above $100/barrel.

        And if the government cut the oil companies’ tax bills, someone else would have to, either, pay or endure further spending cuts.

        Then you’d be complaining about “wicked Westminster’s” austerity programme, would you not?

      • Ali Inkster

        The link you provided supports the position that there would be NO currency union between an independent Scotland and rUK without political union. Did you even read past the first 3 lines?
        Also these very pages have contained many letters from myself and others where we have predicted the price of oil to fall dramatically. It’s not rocket science The price was artificially high where it was and should settle out around $65 / barrel for the foreseeable future. Unless of course that mad man in the whitehouse decides to send weapons to the Ukraine, then the oil price will be the least of our worries.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Ali, the link I posted have a number of [so called] financial experts, giving their professional views on whether or not a currency union would be best for Scotland and England, [did you only read the first one?]
        Let`s not forget that our, so called, Scottish papers, the 97% of the London based MsM are pro-Union, and therefore have a hidden agenda, but even so, firstly, Dame DeAnne Julius, former Monetary Policy Committee member and Bank of England court director, says,

        “The existing currency union has stood the test of centuries and protected Scotland through world wars and global financial crises”…..Hmm the “existing currency union”?…I guess there goes James Jarmson`s theory then, who said “We’re not in a currency union”.

        I`m not suggesting that there would be NO fiscal Union between England and Scotland, my arguement is, that in order to have a currency union both parties would have to agree on the terms set down by the central bank, [BoE] Scotland was quite happy to continue with our present currency union, it was England that spat the dummy out and said they`ll be no shared pound. [personally I`d much rather we`d told Osballs to keep the English pound and the debt they incurred, and created our own Scottish pound]

        Oil will always fall as well as rise, only recently they`re now talking about oil reaching $200 a barrel in the future, considering that the SG based their figures on an “average” $113 per barrel seemed perfectly reasonable at that time, baring in mind that Oil revenue only accounted for 15% of Scotlands wealth.

        The present price of oil is dictated by the fact that between the US and Saudi, they have decided to over produce oil in order to hurt the Russian economy, once that`s had it`s effect prices will rise..but hey ho!

        Getting back to “Wicked Westminsters” austerity programme…do you seriously think that Londons 2% cut in Oil taxes was in any way helpful?…£1.4 Trillion UK debt, another 5 years with massive cuts to every council in Britain, Scotlands “Block Grant” [pocket money] reduced by £billions?

        What really annoys me john, is that Oil revenue is calculated “Per Capita”, in other words per person, so basically, we, in Scotland, receive 8.7% of ALL oil revenue because we are 8.7% of the entire UK,…”pulling and Sharing”…the “Broad shoulders” of the UK…”Better Together”?…Aye, it sure is…[for London and the SE of England]

      • Ali Inkster

        And not one of them said a currency union of the type envisaged by the SSnp would happen. And yes we are in a currency union at the moment but we are in one because we have political union at the moment, the only dummy spitting was done and is being done by the YES brigades, while they fill letters pages and the internet with utter horse shit.
        The price of oil will reach $200 a barrel in the future but how long it will take to arrive at that particular future price is anyone s guess. But there is not one serious suggestion from anyone with even an ounce of wit that says the oil price will hit $200 anytime soon. It is US fracking that is bearing the brunt of the price drop not the Russians, production costs in Russia are tiny compared to the US.

  4. John Tulloch

    Robin,

    You wrote: “……….they`re now talking about oil reaching $200 a barrel in the future….”

    Don’t hold your breath, the last I heard, shale oil production costs were down to about $60/barrel and dropping like a stone, due to rapidly advancing technology.

    “Producers who had grown accustomed to oil at $100 a barrel say they aim to cut costs to profitably drill shale wells at $40 a barrel or less. That is well below the $70 now needed to work in some basins and less than current U.S. benchmark crude prices of about $51 a barrel.”
    https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/insight-u-shale-oils-crash-060338579.html

    You also wrote:

    “The present price of oil is dictated by the fact that between the US and Saudi, they have decided to over produce oil in order to hurt the Russian economy, once that`s had it`s effect prices will rise..but hey ho!”

    Wrong, again. Nobody is “over producing”, the market is working as it should – to the benefit of the consumer. Advancing US technology has enabled them to boost production at well below $100/barrel and the market has responded to that. Saudi Arabia has refused, for the time being, to manipulate the price back up by cutting supplies, in the hope that will squeeze out more expensive oil producers, e.g. North Sea, where new wells reportedly need $70-$80/barrel. US wells are being shut down, 1250 to date, rising at about 50 per week (see link below).

    The reason the price has fallen is because OPEC has, since the 1970s, manipulated the oil market to, artificially, raise the price by UNDER-PRODUCING, not the reverse, as you assert. From the BBC:

    “Without Opec artificially supporting the oil price, and with potentially weaker demand due to sluggish global economic growth, the oil price is likely to remain below $100 for years to come. The futures market suggests the price will recover slowly to hit about $70 by 2019, while most experts forecast a range of $40-$80 for the next few years. Anything more precise is futile.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30814122

    As I say, don’t hold your breath for $200/barrel oil.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Look, I hate to throw a spanner in the works but could you please tell OPEC that they`ve got it wrong?

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/02/03/opec-sees-oil-prices-exploding-to-200-a-barrel/22800331/

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/26/us-opec-badri-idUSKBN0KZ1F320150126

      While I`m not really that concerned with oil rising above $113 per barrel, it simply proves the point that the SNP made, that $113 per barrel was “Average”. naturally NO one can predict the future oil price, but various experts believe that the only way is up.

      Your comments about “Squeezing out the North sea” are frankly, naive, the “Deal” between the US and Saudi is to affect Russia, Scotland is merely a casualty of war, [for the want of a better expression]

      Both the links you gave me John, contradict each other, the BBC claim, “With the booming US shale industry showing little signs of slowing”…while Yahoo finance claim ” Shale oil producers are throttling back so quickly on drilling that U.S. crude output could fall sooner than expected, within months”.

      So which one would you like to me believe?

      You claim “the market is working as it should – to the benefit of the consumer”,…do you seriously think Oil companies give a jot about the customer?…they are there to make money, whatever that takes and usually at our expense. The US and Saudi have agreed to saturate the market because they know that Russia`s economy is dependent on it`s oil to the tune of 70% of it`s export revenues, The oil price is political, the price is where it`s at for NO other reason.

      Just to finish off, Ali, please try to get it into your head that Russia “Exports” it`s oil and gas which accounted for 68% of it`s total revenues in 2013, production costs are immaterial if the product isn`t selling….and btw..what on earth is SSNP?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Both articles refer to the cutting of costs in the shale oil industry, which is already below the the threshold price for new projects in the North Sea, which was my original point.

        Don’t hold your breath for $200/barrel.

      • John Tulloch

        The oil market is working as it should – for the benefit of the consumer, there is no doubt about that. Oil companies are participants and they, naturally, prefer higher prices and the low price suits consumers, not companies.

        Since the 1970s, OPEC has manipulated the oil market by pushing the price, artificially, high by restricting production. It is, of course, their prerogative to sell their oil in the most advantageous way, however, it opened the door for new technology to develop.

        Because of new techniques – which will spread around the world in due course – OPEC no longer has the ability to force the price over $100/barrel. The price of $150/barrel was unsustainable and in the unlikely event of $200/barrel oil, it would simply spawn vast new production, as it has done on this occasion.

        It may well be that Saudi Arabia has agreed to let the price fall to hit the Russian economy, however, that doesn’t alter the fact that the market is functioning as it should, with the price responding to supply and demand, squeezing out expensive producers like small US operators and new North Sea projects, to name but two.

        You and the SNP wishing it to be different will not make it so.

      • Robin Stevenson

        I have No intentions of “holding my breath for $200/barrel” John, these were not my predictions [but Opecs]

        What annoys me is the fact that, No-one is saying that Opecs predictions are “Pie in the Sky”, “Fantasy economics”, “Dullards”,[ and a few other derogatory terms at $200/barrel?]…. and yet, when the SNP based their “Average”, oil/barrel price at $113, they were subjected to a tirade of abuse? [see above]

        Independence wasn`t ONLY about oil [which accounted for 15% of it`s economic forecast] It is the unfair distribution of the UK government spending and then reminding us [Scotland] that we are being subsidised by the rUK, we are NOT, and never have been, “Scotland subsidises the rUK, and is STILL doing so”.

        IF you, [or any other pro-union voter], are quite happy subsidising London projects, like HS2, [£48.2 Billion] of which Scotland will pay 10% coming out of our “block grant”, or massive London SE projects, while Scotland faces another miserable 5 years and beyond, of “Austerity Cuts”, then, once again. on behalf of those that voted “Yes”, thanks.

        Oh…as you`re a believer in our [unbiased] MsM, even “They” sometimes scratch their head and wonder why Scotland didn`t vote for Independence?

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/10/public-money-private-wealth-london-north-v-south

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson,

        I don’t imagine the people at OPEC are “dullards”. However, I do know that, while Saudi Arabia may have deep enough pockets to take the economic hit in their stride, many OPEC members are as dependent on oil revenue as Russia is and are hopping mad at Saudi over this price war which will hit their economies badly.

        But is this an OPEC prediction, or was Mr Abdulla just thinking out loud?

        Here’s what he actually said about the oil price (from your USA Today article):

        “Now the prices are around $45-$55, and I think maybe they [have] reached the bottom and we [will] see some rebound very soon.”

        NB He “thinks”, “MAYBE they have reached the bottom”.

        He added, “…if you don’t invest in oil and gas, you will see more than $200″ when it comes to future oil prices.”

        Well, few would dispute that!

        The truth is, Mr Abdulla isn’t ruling out further falls so, prior to “exploding to $200/barrel”, the oil price could, presumably, also, IMPLODE to $20/barrel, meanwhile?

        And he didn’t set a date for his $200/barrel prediction – why not?

        Because it means his prediction is open-ended and can never be called out. Furthermore, he will be 75 this year and unlikely to be in post by the time it can be challenged. So his forecast isn’t worth the hot air it was issued on.

        I suspect Mr Abdulla’s vague, open-ended, speculation about a $200/barrel oil price was PR, intended to sustain dissenting OPEC members’ morale, as opposed to a serious prediction.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Well that`s great John, but you`ve just managed to deflect my original point? [here we go for the 3rd time] ..Was the SNP`s “Average” $113 per barrel ridiculous? were they fantasy economics? were they just dullards?

        IF so where does that leave OPEC’s Secretary-General Abdulla al-Badri?…is he just a 74 year old fool?
        where does that leave most experts that provided this “Average” figure?

        So was the Scottish Government figure for $113 per barrel optimistic and over priced?

        Well it seemed to be extremely close the Norwegian Governments cautious figure of NOK 650.00 [$113.55] but it was worth also noting that the OECD was forecasting a 2017 oil price of $150 per barrel, the UK and USA Governments around $130 per barrel. Much was made of the OBR forecast of $92 dollars per barrel but the UK Government Energy Department had ignored that as pessimistic and was forecasting $130.00 per barrel.

        Looks like “Everyone” got it wrong, but how many times have we heard the same accusations of incompetence other than the SNP?

      • John Tulloch

        OK, if you say so. I don’t really have anything to add to my previous comments.

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.