Wood, oil, and spooky coincidence

A guest post by Andrew Morton

Sir Ian Wood has dramatically, if not unexpectedly, intervened on behalf of the No campaign over the question of Scottish oil reserves. He has berated Alicsammin for getting his sums wrong and relying on a figure for oil reserves given in a highly dubious report authored by, erm, Sir Ian Wood. Magnus Gardham in the Herald assures us that Sir Ian is an honourable man so clearly his motives for this action must be entirely above board.

It has been said by those on the Yes side of the argument that Sir Ian Wood is not neutral, that he is a well known supporter of the Conservative party, that he opposed the Scotland Act in 1979 and that he threatened to move his company to England if Scotland voted Yes in 1997. All of this may or may not be true, I certainly don’t know

Sir Ian has insisted that he had not been contacted by Better Together and was not taking sides in the referendum debate. This may be true although he insists he is “proud to be Scottish and proud to be British” and talks of having “the best of both worlds” adding “There won’t be any going back” all classic Better Together phrases.

So, if we assume that Sir Ian is merely giving an impartial warning to the people of Scotland and sincerely believes that the figures quoted so freely in his February 2014 report are now completely wrong (which should cast doubt on his judgement, but we’ll pass over that) and leaving aside that even his updated figure is many billions of barrels higher than the OBR estimate (which, we’re constantly assured by Better Together, is an unimpeachable source) then we should take heed.

Unless of course there might be another reason.

But what could that be?

In a report from The Herald of 12 November 2013, Mark Williamson, group Business Correspondent writes:

John Wood Group buys US shale specialist

JOHN Wood Group is set to double its bet on the US shale industry despite the controversy about fracking by acquiring a local specialist in a deal that could be worth more than $200 million (£125m)…

… The deal is the latest in a series of shale-focused acquisitions the company has made in spite of the concerns critics have expressed about techniques used to produce from such rocks.

Some claim the hydraulic fracturing process used to release tightly held oil and gas from shale, dubbed fracking, could damage the environment. However, Wood Group has said it would support companies in the UK if society decided they should be able to frack…

…The acquisition of Wyoming-based Elkhorn looks like the biggest in a series of chunky bets Wood Group has placed on the US shale market.

Fast forward to 16 August 2014 and, in the light of the announcement by Westminster that licences to frack Scotland will soon be up for grabs (licences for which the Wood Group are expected to bid), another Herald story tells us:

Scottish ministers bid to keep right to object to fracking

SCOTTISH ministers are to oppose controversial plans that would remove the right of people to object to fracking companies drilling below their homes.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change is consulting on proposals that would allow the industry to drill below people’s land without permission. Companies would have the right to drill to depths of 300 metres or more under private land without negotiating a right of access.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said decisions on the issue should be taken at Holyrood rather than Westminster, and a Yes vote for independence in September’s referendum would give Scotland the power to deal with the issue.

20 August 2014, Sir Ian Wood makes announcement attacking Scottish Government’s oil estimates and casts doubt on ability of Scotland to be independent.

Of course, all this may be pure coincidence.

26 comments on “Wood, oil, and spooky coincidence

  1. macart763 says:

    Where corporate interest is concerned there is no such thing as coincidence IMO.

    Good post Andrew, neatly points out the glaring contradictions ‘Sir’ Ian’s intervention.

    • Jan Cowan says:

      I read about Wood’s fracking USA profits – vast – and realised why he had to back-track over his February report on oil. Setting aside my belief that it’s impossible to make incredible amounts of money honestly, these people must be so used to spouting whatever
      statement suits their particular purpose of the moment, they have lost the ability to find the truth.

      Thank you, Andrew, for laying the sorry story out so clearly.

      • diabloandco says:

        But what a pity Andrew had to do it and our lying , mealy mouthed media didn’t.

        Where are those investigative – or even mildly interested in the truth – journalists?

        What a price our country is paying because of a dishonest , corrupt media.

  2. JimnArlene says:

    Coincidence, I don’t perkin think so.

  3. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Qui bono?

  4. yerkitbreeks says:

    But now the tasty bit is that Oil & Gas UK have rubbished his latest declaration.

  5. rugloanian says:

    History repeating itself, its another McCrone moment, keep the faith, hold the line, we are nearly there. Whatever is there, its ours!

  6. JGedd says:

    Yes it took only a few minutes of my time on the internet to discover these facts at the time when Wood’s intervention was reported and yet our wonderful investigative media trotted out straight-faced, unquestioningly. He isn’t an oil tycoon as was reported by the media, as the Wood Group are involved in ancillary industries. However, now with the acquisition of a shale oil fracking company and the opening up of the UK to fracking galore, Wood’s intentions are clear. Gardham is just a BT mouthpiece, like most of the MSM. They aren’t journalists worthy of the name – just a cat’s chorus.
    By the way, while canvassing I discovered that fracking is figuring with a significant part of the electorate ( at least the better informed ) as another important concern..

  7. Fat Bob says:

    Yes you have hit it on the head. After this will Cameron put him in the upper house?
    Lets see what develops. If there is a No fracking will start in Scotland, the well known land of the guinea pig.

  8. chicmac says:

    Sounds like that might be challengable and within the remit of the Aarhus Convention.

  9. Finnula says:

    Oh how the honest, reliable ‘sir’ Ian must hate the Web and the wee honest people’s access to the truth – caught selling your soul to the Devil Cameron, again you Traitor!

  10. Margaret says:

    And reported earlier today an increase in profits attributed to shale and an announcement they are looking to acquire more licences

  11. bringiton says:

    As far as i know Ian Wood is retired.
    He is undoubtably a unionist by inclination and whether it was No Thanks or David Cameron who asked for his political support,it doesn’t matter.
    The important thing,as always, was the timing of his statement.
    No BT/Thanks were taking(and still are) a hammering over NHS privatisation and needed a diversion.
    Enter Ian Wood stage left.
    He has now entered the political arena and is going to find out that Scottish politics is a very hostile environment.

  12. erruanne says:

    Yes had a good weekend with Professor Tom Devine,also (and genuinely) ‘much respected figure’ coming out for YES> enter Iain Wood going back on his own predictions of February this year. No shame, and no shame on media for not bothering to point this out to electorate.

  13. Dinna_fash says:

    In case you all missed this, yesterday was commemoration day


  14. douglas clark says:


    Did you publish a very similar post on the Herald?

    Just to let you know I up-ticked it there and I would upick it here if I had the chance🙂

    • andygm1 says:

      Hi Douglas,

      Yes, you’re right. I thought it was a shame to waste the research, so I rewrote it slightly and offered it to Paul who kindly published it. As an amusing postscript to the Herald post, someone thanked me for taking the time to do it and after saying that it hadn’t taken long to find the material I said, ‘Doesn’t anyone do journalism these days?’

      The comment was immediately deleted by the Herald who obviously felt sensitive about Gardham’s column. Intriguingly they have since published a report which looked at the fracking allegation.

  15. douglas clark says:

    upick is of course up-tick. The nearer it get’s to the day, the worse my spelling and hand / eye co-ordination get.

  16. Les Wilson says:

    Of course, all this may be pure coincidence.


  17. Hugh Wallace says:

    Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    Sir Ian Wood coming out for No was about as surprising as the sun rising this morning; all I wondered about when I heard was what took him so long. What is surprising is that this business man of considerable ability would risk his reputation by fudging his own figures so willingly. But then you find that he has an interest in shale gas (ie. fracking) and you become less surprised. And that is before you even consider if Sir Ian is going to become Lord Sir Ian…

  18. Luigi says:

    I think Sir Ian’s long-standing reputation in the North east, the oil industry and wider afield has received a very serious, self-inflicted injury during the past week. The problem for all these wonderful unionist “elites”, these “pillars of society” is that it is no longer possible to manipulate public opinion with double-speak, and hiding inconvenient truths. The MSM are deliberately not doing their job, but with the ever increasing power of the internet and social media, there is no longer any place to hide. He may not recover from this.

  19. naesleep says:

    Slimy perkin rotten bananas!

  20. weebuster says:

    Just found your Blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions so eloquently. I am sorry to read about the loss of Andy, I have rarely read of the loss of someone I do not know and felt so moved by it, you obviously had a wonderful relationship and he lives on in your heart and writings.
    I felt very down after the NO vote but I think you are right…we have won, they just don’t know it yet!
    Thanks Again!

  21. […] that Ian Wood attacked the Scottish government’s oil projections only shortly after the Wood Group bought up a fracking company. It is fact that the BBC did a briefing that laid bare the corporation’s bias, that they were […]

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