Report: Scotland should learn from Norway and create oil fund
A new economic analysis of a potential Scottish Oil or Sovereign Wealth Fund has found that in 24 years Scotland could earn the same annual revenue from an oil fund as current revenues from North Sea oil and gas tax receipts.
The new economic outlook, undertaken by economists for oilandgaspeople.com, which describes itself as the world’s largest oil and gas jobs board, found that Scotland could have amassed a fund worth between £73.64 billion and £147.28 billion in 24 years, the same time as the Norwegian Oil Fund has been running.
According to a report issued on the oilandgaspeople.com website, the economic analysis found that the Scottish Oil Fund would bring in an annual income of between £2.9 billion and £5.8 billion per year respectively in today’s prices, the same amount as current estimated tax receipts from North Sea oil and gas revenues.
The calculations were based on current estimates for tax receipts from oil and gas revenues from the North Sea, which are estimated at between £6.4 and £7.8 billion annually. The economists allowed £5 billion of these receipts to be invested back into the Scottish economy in order to ‘balance the books’, leaving between £1.4bn and £2.8bn to be invested into a wealth fund each year.
The annual compound interested was calculated using figures provided by the Government Pension Fund of Norway, or Norway’s Oil Sovereign Wealth Fund, which grows at 5.7% a year.
The economic outlook found that if only £1.2 billion was invested each year into an oil fund and delivered similar growth to the Norwegian Fund, then Scotland could expect a fund worth £73.64 billion in 24 years.
If the fund was run similar to the Norwegian Fund, then only up to 4% of this figure, or £2.9 billion, could be reinvested back into the Scottish economy each year. If the fund grew to the higher estimate of £147.28 billion, then £5.8 billion could be reinvested back into the Scottish economy annually.
The fund would also continue to grow year on year with revenues from the North Sea and investment returns reinvested.
Kevin Forbes, CEO of oilandgaspeople.com, said: “For an only a small annual investment of oil and gas tax revenues each year, Scotland could create for itself an Oil Fund which provides earnings similar to current oil and gas tax receipts.
“The significance of this shouldn’t be underestimated. If Scotland invests now for the future, it could find itself with a never-ending supply of funds derived from North Sea oil and gas. In other words, the oil and gas money will never run out.
“It took a lot of courage for the politicians of Norway to invest its oil and gas receipts into a fund for the future. At the time, every other oil nation was spending its oil money today, without thinking of what the future might bring. Now we know. While the rest of the oil nations of Europe are in deficit, Norway is able to ride out financial instability thanks to its courageous forward planning.
“North Sea oil and gas won’t last forever, but the tax receipts it produces can if Scotland invests now in a Scottish oil fund.”
The original version of the article above first appeared on Oilandgaspeople.com