Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure after the North Sea’s Brent crude, the international oil standard, slumped 5 percent to just $23 per barrel - its lowest level since November 2002 amid the coronavirus pandemic. And leading economic think tank, the Fraser of Allander institute, warned the COVID-19 crisis was pushing Scotland into a recession and Scotland’s oil industry could decline quickly.
It comes amid warnings the coronavirus outbreak will bring the North Sea oil and gas industry to its knees.
The news is a massive blow to First Minister Ms Sturgeon and is at a particularly critical time for Scotland, which heavily depends on oil revenue to prop up its economy.
Scotland possesses 96 percent of the UK’s crude oil and 63 percent of natural gas production.
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Sturgeon's economy has been delivered a blow (Image: GETTY )
Ms Sturgeon had pinned her independence hopes on being able to secure sole ownership of the oil fields, which sit in the UK’s territorial waters, to underpin the Scottish economy.
But in a major blow, Brent crude oil plunged amid a raging crude price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which continues to drive supply despite travel restrictions hitting demand.
Oil slipped below 20 US dollars a barrel overnight to its lowest figure since 2002.
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Despite recovering slightly on Monday morning, it still remained 10.8 percent lower for the day at 22.9 dollars.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of offshore workers are out of work with the North Sea workforce plunging by around 40 per cent as companies battle against the invisible killer virus.