British Rule in Shetland


  • James O'Connor



Ecology, History


One of the least-known oil deposits in the world lies under the North Sea between Britain's Shetland islands and Norway at the gateway, if not the doorstep, of industrialized Europe. Discovered in 1971, North Sea oil was widely hailed as a solution to Britain's balance-of-payments problem and a bonanza for the British economy generally. The great oil terminal on Shetland's hauntingly beautiful Sullom Voe (the biggest oilport in Britain and possibly in all of Europe), built in a kind of "forced draft industrialization" frenzy, although not yet complete is expected to handle almost 1.4 million barrels of oil daily by mid-1980, and up to 3 million barrels thereafter, more than enough to supply Britain's needs. British and U.S. oil monopolies own about 75 percent of North Sea reserves, the development of which will require a minimum investment of $25 billion by the early 1980s.

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