Seventeen seconds on Reporting Scotland

On Monday I was alerted to a story in the Financial Times.  The story was amazing.  An oil company had confirmed a massive discovery in Scottish waters.

Hurricane oil described the discovery as “the largest undeveloped discovery on the UK Continental Shelf”.  I checked the BBC Scotland website for mention of the news.  There was nothing.

Within an hour of learning of the discovery this very site published its own brief article.  Half an hour or so later an even shorter article appeared on the BBC Scotland website.  Pacific Quay had belatedly picked up the story.

Scotland, as you are aware, is an oil producing nation.  Ninety per cent of all UK oil production originates in Scottish waters.  Oil is a key issue in the independence debate.  This new find, in terms of that debate, is highly significant.  Yet BBC Scotland’s flagship news programme gave it a paltry seventeen seconds on that evening’s news.

There’s no explanation for this.  There were items on the same programme that were of far less significance but were allocated considerably more time.  Yet a major oil discovery off the coast of the Shetland Isles was virtually ignored.

STV evening news gave the story six times the amount of time BBC Scotland did.  The item below is one minute and forty four seconds long.  It is far more informative and presents the story in context.

More bizarre is the fact that Reporting Scotland already had its own longer version of the story in the can.  The clip below was broadcast on the lunchtime edition earlier that day.  Why it was cut from the more popular, and more widely viewed, evening edition is something we’ll probably never know – we can only guess at.

What we do know is that a highly significant story in terms of Scotland’s constitutional debate was cut to the extent that it may as well not have been included at all.  Moreover the story broke on the very day Theresa May visited Scotland to deliver her latest sound-bite in praise of the Union.  May’s visit received a tad more than seventeen seconds, even though it contained virtually nothing in terms of newsworthiness.

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17 thoughts on “Seventeen seconds on Reporting Scotland

  1. Sam

    George….. They Use similar tactics with their radio station. Peak listenning between 5 and 6pm, never get anything that could be positive for SNP or Scotland. Often you’ll get a unionist politician giving their version just after 5 , then the ever present Mhari says “and we’ll hear from an SNP rep later in the show” ….which normally means after 6pm.

    Stopping the audience from making an easy comparison and in most cases from hearing the SNP rep. At all

  2. Derek

    I have read the article on the Hurricane oil discovery off the Shetland Isles. They have given figures as to how much it will produce per day, and it is only 10,000 barrels per day. That is not a major find. Maybe the bbc news did not give that much air time for that reason.

    1. stewartb

      Are you just a ‘barrel half empty’ person, Derek?

      Regarding the Hurricane Oil discovery, according to the industry website Energy Voice (https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/north-sea/134958/north-sea/):

      ”The previous find which was close to this size was Nexen’s Buzzard field in 2001, which has estimated reserves of 1.5billion barrels. It (Buzzard) was the largest find in British waters since 1993.”

      And:

      “This (Hurricane’s discovery) will be producing beyond 2050. Something of this size could go on for 30 years-plus, assuming a full development of all the resources.”

      Its potential significance is enhanced further: “The bedrock bonanza (the Hurricane discovery) between the Solan and Schiehallion fields has neighbouring acreage that was snapped up by super majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell in last week’s 29th frontier licensing round, making them potential partners for Hurricane.”

      From a quick scan of stats from the Oil & Gas Authority, a production rate of 10,000 barrels per day (bpd), if achieved, would be around the 22nd highest rate out of c. 195 different existing oil fields on the UK Continental Shelf.

      Further appraisal drilling is no doubt required, but all in all surely newsworthy! Not a major find?

      1. Al Eddie

        It’s an exploration well, which on its own flows at 10,000+ barrels/day. There will be many more as the field is developed…

  3. Edward Freeman

    I can’t see any sane reason to want to watch their output at all, frankly. And no way am I going to pay for it.

  4. Clive Scott

    BBC best ignored. Cancel the licence fee and spend your time more usefully by campaigning against BBC at Pacific Quay and the Britnat toadies that work there.

  5. Bill Naismith

    This is not the first time that a significant newsworthy item in support of Scottish financial independence has been reported on the morning radio and lunchtime TV news only for it to sink without trace or to be severely doctored by someone presumably who takes over the editing of the news from the afternoon onwards. Who is this person with a strange idea of impartiality?

  6. Ann Rayner

    I have just checked the BBC website. No mention of the oilfind on the main page (or so far down that I could’t be bothered). However it was on the Business pages, though obviously less important than news about IrnBrew profits

  7. Emerald

    The issue with oil is not what it was 20 years ago. With the USA fracking and russia exporting and rhe middle east at war he cost per barrel is what matters currently. That’s why oil jobs are not secure. Scotland independent or not has to compete based on its workforce and skills.

  8. hugh jones

    Leaking this information having only drilled two wells seems a bit iffy to me. Drilling in Australia was fraught with minor operators leaking major finds to boost stock prices back in the early eighties.
    Recent results offshore Tanzania by Statoil resulted in an immediate ‘Tight Hole’, order given to all service companies who were involved in the drilling and geological data analysis all for the obvious reasons.

    There could be absolutely nothing between both these wells and in today’s political climate, you could see who would benefit from this speculative news including the oil company itself looking for investor income in today’s depleted market.

    1. Bibbit

      Hugh Jones – this ‘new’ Lancaster field has been explored since at least 2013. The then PM David Cameron, in the summer of 2014, visited the Shetlands to inspect the find and the workers were pledged to secrecy but someone clyped.

      Cameron of course is now a private citizen, bumming his way around the USA on a lucrative lecture tour.

      Makes you wonder where Theresa May may be in two years time.

      Probably bumming her way around the USA on a lucrative lecture tour, as the last PM who, through her Thatcher MKII tyranny, induced the death spasms of this so called ‘United’ Kingdom.

      Ruth Davidson will be carrying May’s bags, the pair redolent of a latter day fallen Saruman and snivelling Wormtongue.

      I am looking forward to the ‘scouring of Scotland’ when we can begin rebuilding our country free from Westminster’s despotism and the servile BBC psychophants .

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