THE Cambo project is very much a debated issue at the moment. Many people must be wondering what the reserves are in the current developed North Sea fields. This information is surely essential to understand and comment on the debate.

The UK Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) published on September 22 2021 its annual “UK Oil and Gas Reserves and Resources” report, which showed that the UK’s petroleum reserves remain at a significant level. The OGA’s estimate for proven and probable (2P) UK reserves as at the end of 2020 is 4.4 billion barrel of oil equivalent (BOE), 0.8 billion BOE lower than as at end 2019.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond calls for Cambo developers to help fund Scots carbon capture plant

On the basis of current production projections, this could sustain production from the UK Continental Shelf to 2030, the report found. Strange that in 2014 we were advised by high-ranking members of the oil industry that the North Sea was substantially dwindling in potential as far as future extraction and oil revenues were concerned. I read recently that world reserves of fossil fuel were vast, albeit costly in certain areas to extract given known technology as at 2021.

The question arises as to whether Cambo should be held in reserve, put on hold, till nearer 2030. That field would need to be developed, so scrutiny of remaining reserves would have to take place in sufficient time before the projected report date of 2030. Further, should an environmental assessment be carried out? It is suggested that heavy oil would be extracted and less than a third would be used domestically. I read that such extraction and refining of heavy oil creates one-third greater CO2 footprint than light oil.

READ MORE: Leaving Cambo oil in the ground would be a gamble we can't afford to take

It seems to be the case that facts and figures are kept back by OGA and the industry to the extent that we are kept in the dark.

If we are to accept the OGA findings, perhaps the Acorn carbon storage project and sustainable energy sectors should be the area of investment and advancement in the meantime. Given the £350 billion in taxes received by Westminster over the past life of the North Sea, might we anticipate UK Government funding for the latter projects to be advanced now?

We need to start thinking about departing from fossil fuels. We have to start somewhere and getting the facts is very important.

Finally, the figure of 100,000 north-east jobs being at risk if the Cambo extraction does not go ahead does not ring true. Cambo itself would host about 1000 jobs, not all of these in the UK.

Peter Macari

NICOLA Sturgeon recently dismissed the concerns of many organisations and individuals regarding her government’s proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act, specifically self-identification (self-ID), stating that these were “not valid”. In doing so, she glibly reassured people that female-only protections and spaces for women and girls would be safeguarded in line with the Equality Act 2010, which is reserved to Westminster.

Within the past 18 months, 12 male transgender prisoners convicted of violent or sexual crimes (all some form of violation) have been accommodated in women’s prisons in Scotland – this before reform of the GRA makes self-ID easier. How can this be in line with the Equality Act, which allows for female-only spaces in certain circumstances? Don’t women in prison deserve to be protected from male violence and abuse as much as the next woman?

READ MORE: Tolerance of differing views is key, and this must come from all sides

This is surely a safeguarding disaster waiting to happen. Or perhaps the disaster can be regarded as already having happened: we know that many women who are incarcerated are themselves victims, of abuse and violence at the hands of males, and a significant number also having addiction and/or mental health issues, without them having to be around male prisoners who clearly present a safety risk. And all female prisoners, including the minority who’ve committed violent offences, are vulnerable in relation to male-bodied offenders, especially males with a history of perpetrating violence and abuse.

Scotland isn’t the only country where female prisoners are being forced to share a space with male-bodied prisoners convicted of violent or sexual crimes – it’s happened in England and other countries, with predictably terrible results. That’s the thing about some sex offenders – they take advantage of laws that allow them access to potential victims.

This is also a class issue, as the majority of female prisoners come from working-class, often poorer, backgrounds. Women in prison are among the most marginalised – it’s vital that those of us “on the outside” who are able to shine a light on this issue do so.

To any MSPs/Scottish Government ministers reading this, and indeed to our self-professed “feminist-to-her-fingertips” First Minister: perhaps most of you have never experienced having a female loved one in prison; I have, in the past, and I’m appalled at the thought of vulnerable women prisoners being put at risk in the name of “inclusion” and being “progressive”. How can you allow this? Or are my concerns “not valid”?

Mo Maclean