North Sea Oil
Scottish thinktank says North Sea oil and gas revenues could be £365bn.Reuters

A Scottish thinktank has said that oil and gas revenues from the North Sea could be up to six times higher than what was previously thought.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had believed North Sea would deliver revenue of £61.6bn ($103bn, €76.9bn) between 2013/14 and 2040/41.

However, N-56 – which describes itself as an apolitical business organisation, whose founder is Dan Macdonald, a member of the board for 'Yes Scotland' – says that this figure could actually be as high as £365bn.

The N-56 committee, which runs a series of Scotland Means Business reports, came to this figure after considering a number of recommendations, which includes a more competitive tax regime for the North Sea and that officials should establish an oil fund.

North Sea could be worth £1tn

"If these recommendations are implemented, oil taxation revenues will be far higher than projected by the OBR," read the report.

Graeme Blackett from N-56 added: "Since 1970 over £1tn in oil and gas revenues have been produced by the North Sea and at least as much value remains to be produced as already has been, presenting a tremendous opportunity for the sector and for Scotland's public finances.

"Scotland is a net contributor to the UK public finances, in part due to our geographic share of oil and gas revenues, and this ensures that our finances are typically healthier than the UK public finances as a whole.

"What is clear is these natural resources can be maximised through implementing the recommendations put forward both by ourselves and the Wood Review, delivering considerable surpluses that we would recommend are used to invest in an oil fund to benefit future generations."

Salmond: North Sea has 'a bright future'

Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond was particularly welcoming of the report, saying that members of the 'No' campaign need to take this on board.

"This substantial new report from a leading business organisation blows another huge hole in the credibility of the OBR's oil forecasts, especially as it comes just days after esteemed Scottish economist, Prof Sir Donald Mackay, said the OBR's calculations were 'precisely wrong' and 'hopelessly at sea'.

"Instead of continuing to talk down Scotland's oil and gas sector, the No campaign should acknowledge that the sector has a bright future ahead of it."