UK Defense Ministry Accused Of Blocking ‘Major Find’ Of Oil on Scottish West Coast© Flickr/ Jimmy MacDonald
GLASGOW, June 6 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – A former Labour Member of Parliament in Scotland has told RIA Novosti there is a “major find” of oil and gas on the West Coast of Scotland which is not being extracted because of UK nuclear submarine operations.
David Lambie, 89, was a Labour MP for Ayrshire from 1970 until 1992 and told RIA Novosti that a member of the Conservative Government in the early 1980s leaked information to him about the oil discovery which, Lambie says, the Ministry of Defence, (MoD), has tried to cover-up.
“It was a Tory MP who actually contacted me in the first place,” Lambie told RIA Novosti.
“He was in the Government at that time and he couldn’t do anything about it. He wanted me to raise the issue,” Lambie added.
Lambie said that Scottish independence wasn’t a realistic possibility then, but he felt exploration would boost the local economy which in 1983 was blighted by mass unemployment.
“The exploration of oil would have created jobs on the West coast of Scotland at a time when we really needed them,” Lambie said. “As soon as the MoD heard about it and realized I was getting my information from a Tory MP and a member of the Government then the whole thing stopped.”
British Petroleum, (BP), who carried out a seismic and geological exploration survey over an area of 92 square miles south of Arran, a large island in the middle of the Firth of Clyde, said they no longer held the survey data. Lambie told RIA Novosti that the loss of the data was “curious”.
Peter Walker was Tory Energy Minister in the early 1980s and told the UK Parliament that consultation would be needed with the MoD due to the “importance of the area for the passage of British and US submarines to and from their bases.”
According to Lambie the MoD then moved to block any exploration in the area.
Lambie agreed that independence, and the resultant closure of Faslane and nuclear submarine operations, could open the door to exploration on the Firth of Clyde.
“The oil is in the area to the south of Arran,” Lambie told RIA Novosti. “It was a place where the navy people from Faslane (the UK’s nuclear submarine base) trained.
“The oil is still there, it must be there,” Lambie said. “Nobody is using it. The Tory MP who contacted me got hell for leaking the information to me.”
Lambie added, “The Tory MP described the oil identified as a ‘major find’.”
Jim Sillars, a former Labour and Scottish National Party MP, told RIA Novosti that he believed the British Government had deliberately covered up the extent of oil on the West coast of Scotland.
“There should now be a full blown exploration and explanation to the people in Scotland of what’s there in terms of oil and gas in the Firth of Clyde,” Sillars told RIA Novosti.
“You should be able, once we are independent and negotiating with Westminster, to demand a premium lease on the Faslane base until it leaves,” Sillars added.
Sillars said that a premium lease of Faslane to the UK Government by the Scottish Government should be made to reflect the oil revenues lost from the Clyde during the period oil exploration did not proceed.
“Once the base goes, as it will go under independence, then we can go full steam ahead and exploit the oil and gas and transform the economy on North Ayrshire, where the support industries would be established,” Sillars told RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile a survey of oil companies operating in the North Sea has found the majority of those surveyed believe Scottish independence would have a positive impact on their industry.
The survey by the Aberdeen and Grampian Chambers of Commerce found that small to medium sized oil companies were more favorable to Scottish independence than the large multi-national operators.
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