Some of you will know that I recently travelled to the Norwegian Arctic Circle, at 70° N, the furthest north I have been and only 1,400 miles from the geographic North Pole.
It was a beautiful country, and notably similar in landscape to Scotland, except for the sun not setting at night, and the May sunshine only reaching 4°C.
As I was leaving the airport, the shuttle bus taking me to my hotel went through a tunnel 3 km’s long. About a 1/3 of the way, we came across a roundabout in the tunnel, which branched off 3 ways. Around 2/3s of the way through the tunnel, we again came across another roundabout branching off in 3 ways. The engineering is fantastic and advanced.
As I walked the streets in the evenings with some locals from the company I was visiting, I was talking to them about Scotland and its independence and also about their perception of Scotland from a Norwegian point of view.
What they were all telling me was that they couldn’t believe Scotland didn’t vote for independence. Their words were, Scotland is like Norway, but with more!
As we walked to one of the bars, the sun was high and it was around 7pm. I asked one of my colleagues how they keep the snow off of the pavement in winter when the sun never rises and the temperature barely breaks freezing. To my surprise, I was informed that the main streets have underfloor heating pipes to keep the pavements warm. They do of course use salt, but its not heavily relied on as most people just buy winter tyres, some companies even supply and fit them as part of the employment contract.
As we sat drinking fine Mack beer in the world’s most northern brewery (at least for the next couple of months before another one opens only 800 miles from the North Pole), we started discussing Norway’s oil fund and their state oil company Statoil.
I work in Oil and Gas, and have quite a good understanding of oil, pricing, vendors, drilling, marine operations etc., so was able to discuss many points with my colleagues. Of particular note was the shift being made by Statoil from Oil to Energy?
Many back home in Scotland are unaware of why Statoil has rebranded, many don’t even know that they have. For those of you who don’t know, Statoil are now Equinor.
As I discussed this rebranding with others in Norway, it became apparent very quickly that the drive for renewable energy and the shift away from volatile oil based stocks was something Statoil was trying to get ahead of the curve on.
Their rebranding is drastic no matter how you look at it. Statoil sounds nothing like Equinor. In 5 years, no one will remember Statoil, and thats how they want it!
Their website tells you why they have changed. It reads:
Equinor. A new name for the next chapter of our story.
Change has been a constant for us from the very beginning. Mastering feats of engineering. Overcoming harsh environments and deep waters. Learning by doing. Becoming one of the world’s largest offshore operators.
Now we have a responsibility to change again. To find a better balance. To provide the energy the world needs and effectively fight climate change. Evolving from an oil and gas company into a broad energy company. Meeting the future with optimism. And a new name.
This is Scotland’s Blueprint, as handed to us by our Nordic cousins.
Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind power potential and according to a scientific journal hosted on Science Direct, Scotland contains the “Saudi Arabia” of Tidal Energy, and I quote…
“If there is one region of the world that is synonymous with marine renewable energy, it is Scotland. With 16,500 km of coastline and a population density of , Scotland is in a strong position to make use of its abundant wave and tidal resources to generate meaningful levels of electricity . Scotland sits on the western fringes of the northwest European continental shelf, exposed to waves propagating from the north Atlantic – the main source of its wave energy resource. In addition, numerous narrow channels, seaways and “firths” interspersed around Scotland lead to the formation of some of the strongest tidal currents in the world, with the Pentland Firth, in particular, often nicknamed the “Saudi Arabia of tidal power” [e.g. Ref. . As a consequence of Scotland’s abundant natural marine resources, there has been much commercial progress of both wave and tidal energy projects in Scottish waters [e.g. Ref. ], and this progress has been facilitated by the formation, in 2003, of EMEC – the European Marine Energy Centre – in Orkney.”
With so much energy, it may surprise you to learn that Scottish energy producers need to pay to generate electricity, whilst those in the far south of England actually get paid to produce it…that just wouldnt happen in an independent Scotland as England would need to buy our energy, helping offset the costs of production.
As I sat pondering the change from Oil to Energy, I quickly realised that’s where the future is. That’s where the world is heading. Its heading towards a serious energy crisis. As we develop more electric cars, push out oil products, look at renewables, we must realise that Scotland cannot allow the “second oil boom” to be handled by Westminster. Energy will be the gold of the future and those with the most will be the strongest and wealthiest.
The Norwegians and Statoil are making the shift, and so must Scotland.
Scotland stands, right now, at a precipice.
Regain our independence and help change the world through a shift towards full self-sustainability in energy, or remain shackled to a Government that exploits others for its own gain, including exploiting Scotland and her resources.
As a side note, I asked the group Norwegians I was out with if they were given a referendum on joining Sweden, and allowing Sweden to take full fiscal control and set the policy from Stockholm, would the people of Norway vote for that.
They laughed and said, no one would vote for that!
We will all have to choose soon, choose to be like Norway, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Iceland, Austria, Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Belguim or keep the shackles around our necks as provided by the rUK.