Shell Boss Rejects Scottish Independence
The chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell has said he wants Scotland to remain part of the UK.
At the company's annual reception in London, Ben van Beurden said he valued the "continuity and stability" of the UK.
Mr van Beurden, who took the helm of Britain's most valuable company in January, spoke out after the oil company's chairman had previously refused to comment on Shell's views surrounding September's referendum.
The chief executive told the audience: "Shell has a long history of involvement in the North Sea and therefore in Scotland - and we have continued to invest heavily there.
"Given a choice, we want to know as accurately as possible what investment conditions will look like ten or 20 years from now."
Mr van Beurden - a supporter of the European Union - likened the decision facing Scotland to the "in-out" EU debate facing the wider UK.
The North Sea oil industry is one of the major battlegrounds of the independence debate, with the SNP's First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, placing revenues from oil and gas at the heart of an independent Scotland's economy.
But a lack of clarity on the planned infrastructure for independence has been cited as a core reason for a growing list of major firms to reject the referendum.
Politicians in Westminster have said that if Scotland walks away from the UK it walks away from the pound while the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned of risks of independence.
BP boss Bob Dudley is among those known to oppose independence while RBS, Barclays and Lloyds have also voiced strong concern.
Heating supplier Aggreko joined the debate on Thursday when it warned that Scottish independence will lead to "years of uncertainty and hiatus" for the business, saying it was likely to raise its costs.
Scotland-based insurance and pensions giant Standard Life went as far last month as to say it could move parts of its business to England if there was a 'yes' vote.
The Scottish Government said in response to Mr van Beurden's speech: "The Scottish Government agrees with Shell that the real risk facing the oil and gas sector is the proposed 'in-out' referendum on EU membership, which risks taking Scotland out of Europe with all the consequences for jobs, investment and prosperity that would entail."
The statement went to to offer talks with Shell to discuss its concerns about independence.
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