Scottish Weir Reveals Bumper Oil and Gas Demand Offsetting Mining Slump
Scottish Weir Reveals Bumper Oil and Gas Demand Offsetting Mining SlumpResults

Scotland's energy giant The Weir Group has revealed that strong oil and gas demand has helped offset the slump in mining orders during the first three months of 2014.

Weir said in its first quarter results statement that its oil and gas division was ahead of management's expectations in the first quarter as it jumped 33% from the same period last year.

However, in contrast, mining orders tumbled by 7% from the same period last year with original equipment orders falling by around 27%.

Weir employs about 14,000 people in more than 70 countries and UBS analysts have described it as "one of the most attractively positioned mining equipment businesses."

The news of Weir's soaring demand within its oil and gas division will give politicians pause for thought over how a huge Scottish company would weather the impact of independence.

Recently, a report on the impact of Scottish independence, which was originally commissioned by Weir to "cut through political rhetoric on either side", has revealed that Scottish firms will be burdened with one billion pounds in extra costs if the country decides to end the 307-year union.

According to the report, a new Scottish currency could cost local businesses and households half a billion pounds annually in transaction fees.

Furthermore, Scotland's firms will be smothered with another £800m (€965m, $1.3bn) in costs, following the transition to a UK exit.

"For businesses, the conclusions seem clear: the costs of independence are guaranteed but the benefits are uncertain. That has the potential to make Scotland less competitive, not more," said Weir CEO Keith Cochrane in a statement, in response to the findings.

"We believe voters deserve access to well informed analysis ahead of September's referendum."

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) revealed that Britain has become a net importer of petroleum products for the first time since 1984 as North Sea crude production - the financial jewel in an independent Scotland's crown - has plunged and existing refineries cannot keep up with the demand.

However, Prime Minister David Cameron revealed this year that the UK government is aiming to cut the red tape surrounding Scotland's oil and gas sector in a bid to unlock £200bn reserves and win support for the country to remain part of Britain.