Excellent news for the Unionist oilman Andy Samuel. He has been appointed as the head of the Oil and Gas Authority which is a new quango created at the behest of that other Arch-Unionist Sir Ian Wood. Andy was formerly the managing director of BG Group’s exploration and production in Europe.
During the Independence Referendum Andy came out on the establishment’s side with the following scare story, “An independent Scotland would have to invest 3,800 pounds per head – over ten times more than when costs are spread across the UK – to match the 20 billion pounds the UK Government has committed towards decommissioning in the North Sea.”
Which begs the question, why are the taxpayers footing the bill to clean up the oil companies’ mess? But of course that question never gets asked by our mainstream media. Anyway, back to Andy. I’m sure that he will have sold all of his shares in BG Group in order to avoid a conflict of interest, hasn’t he? I’m also sure we’re going to hear a lot more from him about how tax revenues from the North Sea should only go to Westminster because they’ve got all the safe pairs of hands down there. They know about tax and stuff. That’s why the oil companies are asking for a reduction as we speak, squealing because the oil price is almost $80 per barrel and oh how the costs have risen. Mind you a 62% tax rate is pretty stiff but, you know, someone’s got to pay for Crossrail, HS1, HS2, HS3, Olympics etc. The champers is getting expensive too as well. Oh, don’t forget the interest on all the money that Gideon has borrowed to make our economy look better than it is in the hope the Tories can get re-elected.
But wait, what’s this? New drilling licences being awarded. The oil companies can’t be that poor then can they? And what’s this? Danny Alexander casting about trying to find some purpose. Trying to suggest that the oil companies are not reducing prices at the pump as the oil price reduces. But the simple fact is that most of the price paid at the pump is fuel duty (55p per litre) and vat (20%) which leaves the oil companies about 49p to get it out of the ground (don’t forget that 62% tax rate on there) transport it to the refinery, refine it, transport it to the pump and sell it. The retailer gets about 2p per litre. So is the chinless one trying to deflect attention away from the government’s tax grab and on to the oil companies or is he merely making some populist noise in order to try to get re-elected? Or is this the first salvo in a public spat between the oil companies and the government? Were the oil companies promised reduced taxes to get the to side with the Unionists? We’ll find out in the autumn statement from the chancellor soon.
Ah but I digress. Andy has been rewarded for his staunch support of the Union. Pure and simple. Just like Sir Ian Wood got rewarded with some juicy fracking licences. Just like Alistair Darling will be feeling the touch of ermine soon. So on, and on, and on, the gravy train goes.