Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Business leader urges First Minister to encourage oil exploration off coastline of South West Scotland
A leading Ayrshire businessman has written to Scotland’s First Minister urging him to positively encourage oil exploration off the south west Scottish coast.
Norman Geddes is managing partner at Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors, based in Ayr, as well as executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.
[Pictured: Norman Geddes (left) hosts an Elite Ayrshire Business Circle summer luncheon at Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort.]
In his letter to Alex Salmond, Mr Geddes referred to recent newspaper revelations about how, back in the 1980s, the UK Ministry of Defence blocked oil companies from making further exploration off the coast of south-west Scotland after initial tests had indicated the likely presence in the area of recoverable reserves of oil and gas.
The reason given at the time was the proximity of the Trident base at Faslane, and that further drilling activities might interfere with nuclear submarine exercises.
These facts have come to light as a result of Freedom of Information requests by Chic Brodie MSP, and have been reported by Andrew Picken in three separate articles in the “Sunday Post” newspaper.
In his letter to the First Minister, Mr Geddes continues: “In the third of these articles I was glad to read that your spokesman replied on your behalf: “In an independent Scotland there will be no no-go areas for oil exploration on the Atlantic shelf or anywhere else. The waters off the west coast of Scotland are potentially rich in oil and gas resources, and we will make sure we do everything we can to maximise the returns from the industry.”
“However, I would ask you to go even further.
“On behalf of the Membership of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle I would urge you to make an irrevocable policy commitment, and pledge that, post-independence, your Government will positively invite and encourage oil companies to bid for exploration and production rights in the waters off the south-west coast of Scotland.
“You are no doubt mindful of how many parts of this region have been sorely blighted by the ravages of industrial decline in the past few decades, and what a profound and dramatic economic renaissance might result from such an action on your part.
“This policy pledge would be warmly welcomed by my Members, and most certainly by the business community of Scotland as a whole.
“I look forward to receiving your early and positive response.”
The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle
The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is an association founded in 2007 by some of the top companies in Ayrshire.
Its purpose is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the wealth and rich diversity of entrepreneurial talent and business excellence that abounds here within the county boundaries of Ayrshire.
Members include Ayr Racecourse, Western House Hotel, Turnberry Golf Resort and South Ayrshire Council. Member company activities include broadcasting, building and construction, architectural practice, estate agency and land management, chartered accountancy, insurance broking, legal services, golf club management, marketing services and brand creation, web design and public relations consultancy.
Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors senior partner Norman Geddes (above left) is executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, and managing director is public relations consultancy Fame Publicity Services proprietor Murdoch MacDonald (above right).