Sir Ian Wood also warns of dwindling oil production affecting jobs and the local economy
Sir Ian Wood also warns of dwindling oil production affecting jobs and the local economyReuters

Former oil executive Sir Ian Wood has warned against the Scottish National Party's estimation of oil production, which he claims is around 45% to 60% too high, adding that dwindling reserves are set to impact jobs and the country's economy.

The former chairman and chief executive of the Wood Group who recently headed a major oil industry review, said the SNP's White Paper was too optimistic, as estimated production would be down to a sixth of the current levels by 2050.

"The loss of significant offshore oil and gas tax revenues as the North Sea runs down will have a big impact on our economy, jobs and balance of payments, with significant increases in household energy bills - and a very adverse impact on the legacy for future generations in an independent Scotland," said Wood.

"It means our young voters must be fully aware that by the time they are middle aged, Scotland will have little offshore oil and gas production and this will seriously hit our economy, jobs and public services.

"What's more, the rundown impact will begin to be felt by 2030, which is only 15 years from now."

Scottish people will vote in an independence referendum on 18 September, 2014, and will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Wood's comments will be a blow to the pro-independence campaign that have consistently claimed that Scotland would be able to go it alone due to its wealth of oil reserves.

The Scottish government claims there are 24 billion barrels of oil left in the North Sea while Wood stipulates that there are in fact only 15 billion to 16.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil left.

He added that oil production would only keep going for 35 more years, unless a significant discovery was made.

In keeping with the pro-independence campaign's oil production claims, N-56, which was founded by a member of the advisory board for Yes Scotland Dan Macdonald, North Sea revenues are pegged to be as high as £365bn (€456bn, $605bn) by 2041, if a series of recommendations were implemented.

However, the UK Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast is at £61.6bn between 2013/14 and 2040/41.

"N-56 welcomes Sir Ian Wood's confirmation that recoverable oil is far higher than the OBR estimates, as set out in the N-56 report launched earlier this week," said a N-56 spokesperson.