How Texans bailed out UK economy

Scotsman:

THERE was no fanfare, no speeches and no cheering crowd. But a Westland Whirlwind helicopter flight carrying seven Texan oilmen which left Scotland 40 years ago yesterday was to completely transform Britain's economy and herald a new dawn of prosperity fuelled by "black gold".

The Bristow's aircraft, which was based at the Dyce airfield, then a quiet aerodrome on the outskirts of Aberdeen, picked up the men at RAF Kinloss in Moray before flying out to a drilling rig in the Moray Firth.

The short flight marked the beginning of the search for oil in the northern North Sea and the eventual discovery, two years later, of the first oil field in British waters. That oil strike paved for the way for the dramatic growth of an industry which has ploughed £232 billion in tax revenues into the Treasury over the last four decades and now employs 480,000 people across the UK.

But Captain Ernie Perrin, the pilot of the historic flight, yesterday admitted he hadn't realised the moment's significance.

"I had no idea at all of the history in the making," he said. "The general view at the time was that the whole idea that they could prospect for oil off Scotland was faintly ridiculous."

...

The Labour government of the time, he explained, had intervened to force the RAF to allow the Moray air base to be used for the flights. They were hardly welcome guests with no facilities for the oilmen as they waited for their flight, and the helicopter banished to the remotest part of the airfield as it prepared for take off.

...

Hat tip to TigerHawk for finding this jewel. What is so disheartening is that they are making similar discoveries off our own coast and the Democrats and the environmentalist will not permit them to produce from those areas. It is perverse.

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