WHILE there is strong demand for heating and transportation fuels, Scottish oil fields are needed to save the planet.

Scottish oil fields produce some of the lightest and “sweetest” crudes in the world, easily transported to northwest European refineries, being easily refined and naturally rich in gas oil and lighter fractions – just what the market needs.

As the older North Sea fields expire, they need to be replaced or else supply gaps will be filled from the vast resources of the Middle East, eg Saudi Arabia or Iran.

Middle Eastern (ME) crudes are “heavy” with a naturally lower content of gas oil and lighter fractions compared to Scottish oil. Each barrel of ME crude will be more expensive to ship and more barrels will be needed to produce the same volume of gas oil etc. Of course, many refineries will be able to use catalytic cracking equipment to squeeze out extra gas oil from the heavier ends of the ME crudes, but that entails more expense and yet more energy consumption.

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Some crudes, such as from Nigeria, are closer to Scottish crudes in quality but transportation would be much more costly. Some crudes, such as from Venezuela, are even heavier than ME crudes.

Until we can significantly reduce demand for oil derived heating and transportation fuels, “new” Scottish oil fields are needed to minimise emissions from the production and refining of crude oil.

Alternatively, if we could prolong the life of existing Scottish oil fields and avoid premature expiry, there may be some justification in blocking “new” Scottish oil fields. One way or the other we need to maintain Scottish oil field production at least at the current level, to help save the planet.

The Green Party should forget about oil supply issues and focus on demand. That would be much more helpful.

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This was the principal content of an important and knowledgeable letter by Alan Adair of Blairgowrie, published in the Sunday National Seven Days supplement on July 25 2021. It was in response to a letter by Mark Ruskell, the Greens energy spokesperson, headlined “Greens hit out at Cambo oil field ‘doublespeak’.”

My apologies to Alan for copying the bulk of his letter, but I felt it was too important to ignore. I copied his comments a month later. The ignorant have to be educated. I had a forlorn hope that it would be shared widely, but the purveyors of nonsensical garbage about the Cambo oil field seem to have taken ascendancy, and others have now picked up similar cudgels. That was two years ago and the same principles still apply.

Bruce Moglia
via email

JIM Taylor (Letters, Aug 30) asks why certain dates of manufacture are used to determine which vehicles can and cannot enter Low Emission Zones. The answer is simple; every few years the EU publishes ever-tightening emissions standards which new cars must meet. These regulations come into effect on pre-determined dates. If a local authority wants their LEZ to allow only vehicles which comply with EU directive 4 for petrol engines or EU directive 6 for diesels they need only specify the dates on which those directives came into force.

Neil Caple

DEAR Jim Taylor,

You’ve obviously NEVER stood in Union Street, Glasgow at rush hour, waiting on a bus. The air quality was DIABOLICAL. The stink from (mainly diesel) exhausts was overpowering. The LEZ is years overdue.

God knows how much illness and premature death was caused by the concentration of toxic fumes in this area of the city. No doubt you thought the removal of lead water pipes in the 1970s was a money-making scam for contractors.

Barry Stewart