A new oil field has been discovered in the North Sea, but Scottish independence campaigners are bitterly unimpressed with the news.
BP and GDF Suez E&P UK said they had discovered the field, which spans two areas where the companies have separate licenses to explore, in the central North Sea. The field could supply a maximum of 5,350 barrels of oil a day, according to estimates, making it worth around £157 million a year.
The energy companies and the UK government have welcomed the news, but the discovery has not gone down well with Scotland's pro-independence campaigners, as some drily noted.
— Lorcan Roche Kelly (@LorcanRK) October 23, 2014
First minister Alex Salmond used the tax revenues from the North Sea's oil reserves as a central part of his argument to justify Scotland gaining independence.
"Scotland has been duped", concluded one pro-independence campaigner, while another acidly commented: "Ever had the feeling you've been duped?"
BP and GDF Suez discover new North Sea oil field. Ever had the feeling you've been cheated. http://t.co/N16D15fEhz— Kenny McLean (@Kenny4PartickW) October 23, 2014
SHOCKER. TURNS OUT THERE'S LOAD OF OIL. BBC News - BP and GDF Suez discover new North Sea oil field http://t.co/NxBhueTg7N— Jen Lavery (@JenniferLavery) October 23, 2014
Scotland has been well and truly duped "BBC News - BP and GDF Suez discover new North Sea oil field http://t.co/Eu4myT4lgK"— Ryan Mc Crory (@McCrorySF) October 23, 2014
Others suggested that the oil firms' new North Sea discovery was linked to Scots voting No in last month's referendum, with one quipping: "It's amazing the leaps and bounds in oilfield discovery since the referendum."
BP just announced the discovery of a new oil field in the central North Sea. They had no indication of this pre-independence vote, obviously— Mark Donne (@donne_mark) October 23, 2014
They found a new oil field in North Sea. That would change the outcome of the Scottish Independence referendum if they knew about it.— Adam ∞ (@Drift_Kaiser) October 23, 2014
A spokesman for the UK's Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) told the Huffington Post UK that it was "just not true" to link the discovery to the referendum vote.
"No discovery has been made and delayed until the referendum, it's just not the case," he added.
The UK's energy minister Matthew Hancock welcomed the discovery of the new North Sea oil field, saying: "We are determined to have set the right fiscal and regulatory regimes to make sure we can get the maximum possible economic extraction of oil and gas from the North Sea.
"This discovery shows exactly what can be achieved in the North Sea if companies work together to maximise the considerable potential of remaining oil and gas reserves."