Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Scotland's oil

Following on from mt Scotland should go independent post, and original map courtesy of commenter IanLondon, here is a map of the oil fields. Through the miracle of Photoshop, I have drawn a line which shows the continuing border out into the North Sea.

As we can see, England gets a good lot of the oil (the orange patches) and, more significantly, by far the largest number of gas fields (the light blue patches). And, of course, being that wee bit further south, the extraction from those fields is easier than from some of the more northern ones.

Good luck Scotland!


Serf said...

Scotland already has the right kind of government to be an oil country. Statist and illiberal.

The Gorse Fox said...

Thanks for adding the map... As we're now looking to divide things up, it looks to the Gorse Fox like "Brent" should be Norwegian

Anonymous said...

DK, I'm afraid I disagree with your working.

You've just extrapolated the overall angle of the land border out into the sea. This doesn't take into account how the shape of Scotland means that many of the oil feilds are closer to its coastline than to England's.

I also have Photoshop. Take a look at this JPEG version of the image (or the layered Photoshop 8 file).

As you see, at 60 units out to sea, you can reach the Viking gas fields from England (not Scotland), and the Captain/Beatrice oil fields only from Scotland. Sailing from Scotland, you can easily reach the entire Arbroath field in 120 units. Not so from England.

I've drawn a new line in pink where the true border should be. Both lines assume Norway's disinterest.

Devil's Kitchen said...


Thank you. Still, I believe that the income, at current oil prices, is roughly £13 billion. Given that Scotland is subsidised to the tune of £11.3 billion, I think that England can swallow £1.7 billion.

As I say, the oil is, or will be, totally irrelevent in 50 years. I think that it will be less, myself.


Anonymous said...

The dividing line between UK and Norwegian waters (and hence oil ownership) was, I am told, decided in a rather straightforward and sensible manner; which in itself must have made those negotiations unique in the annals of diplomacy.

Strictly speaking the boundary should have run along a line equidistant from the UK and Norwegian coasts. However, according to my knowledgable source (a drunk Norwegian petroleum engineer) there is a rather deep and wide underwater canyon running the length of the North Sea.

Proving the case that God IS an Englishman this canyon lies in what should be Norwegian territory. Since laying pipelines across this feature is damned near impossible the Vikings charitably let us have their level bit west of it.

And that, according to Oily Ollie, is why Her Britannic Majesty's oilfields appear to extend into what looks like Norwegian waters. It's also why I quite like Norwegians - damned fine fellows they are. Unless they are charging at one waving a fuckoff big battleaxe, of course.


Anonymous said...


Once again refering to the drunken authority of Oily Ollie and his knowledge on matters of 'territorial waters, definitions, earth rapists for the use of' I fear I must take issue with your argument.

International convention is that territorial borders are extended out to sea on the same bearing as the line of land border at the coast. I accept that DK's use of the average bearing of the entire Anglo-Scottish border is wrong but your contention that proximity is the guiding principle is equally erroneous. Indeed you are wronger than he. The crucial factor is the direction of the land border at Berwick-on-Tweed.

At least that's how Ollie explained it to me before schmoozing home with the most beautiful girl in the pub. Bastard.

I could dig out my own copy of the South African Minerals Act which also details these principles but I have a lot of work to do by the end of the week and my boss, uncharitably, expects me to work for the pittance he pays me.


Croydonian said...

The convention under international maritime law is that boundaries are defined by median lines between the countries bordering an area of water.

A map here shows the current status quo.

Anonymous said...


Does that mean I've been sending the King of Norway christmas cards all these years for no reason?

And the bugger never even wrote me one back.

Double bum!

Oily Ollie owes me a couple of pints the next time I see him, I can tell you.


Anonymous said...

croydonian/the remittance man

The major case in international law concerning the North Sea and the "median line" convention is set out here

Briefly: the "median rule" doesn't necessarily apply and, by inference, as far as the UK was concerned did not apply when the North Sea was divided up. As to the Norwegian Trench issue: the Trench is far closer to the coast of Norway than the Institute of Petroleum map (or what actually was agreed) would have us believe
If the Norwegians did in fact cede us the whole of the continental shelf West of the Trench then the geographers advising the UK negotiating team were sadly deficient.

Anonymous said...

So should I keep sending king Olaf my grandest Oxfam card each year or not? More importantly does Oily ollie owe me beer or not?

I'm confused!


Tim Newman said...

More importantly does Oily ollie owe me beer or not?

No, he does not! Bloody mining engineers second guessing their oil industry betters!

Anonymous said...

More importantly does Oily ollie owe me beer or not?

No - he actually owes you a lot of oil

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't get too rude about mining engineers if I were you, Newman. Remember which of the two professions has ready access to lots of high explosives and is probably stupid enough to use them :-)


Sulasgeir said...

Article 5
"the normal baseline for measuring the breadth of the territorial sea is the low-water line along the coast"

Sulasgeir said...

Document: Prospective Anglo-Scottish Maritime Boundary Revisted:

Anonymous said...

What an utterly clueless original post.

Check up on international maritime law and then come back to us, instead of wasting our time reading your drivel.

Anonymous said...

haha very good! Your photoshop obviously doesn't understand what a straight line is. we dont need to oil to survive anyway, do you see many oil fields in Ireland (another country you tried to bleed dry)! Have the oil fields within you imaginary border if it makes you all happy, we will just be happy not to be associated with a war mongering country!

Anonymous said...

Its Shetland's oil!

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