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Brexit: If Scotland leaves the UK, what’ll happen to North Sea oil?

The oil and gas industry is set for fresh uncertainty following last week's U.K. referendum on membership of the European Union, as Scottish politicians call for another independence referendum.

Soon after the results of the referendum (in which around 51 percent of the U.K. voted to leave the EU), Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced she would seek a second independence referendum for her country in order to remain a part of the EU.

This announcement is a cause for concern for the energy sector, according to Andrew Speers, CEO of oil and gas recruiter Petroplan. One of the big concerns surrounding the issue of Scottish independence is the potential hit to the region's economic stability.

"From a financial perspective, the Fiscal Affairs Scotland think tank last year estimated Scotland to be £7 billion ($9.23 billion) a year worse off if it secures independence, but it's a real possibility now as they wish to avoid a forced exit from the EU," he told CNBC in an email.

North Sea oil rig `Gullfaks C' in bad weather
Amulf Husmo | Getty Images

Speers warned that some oil firms may seek to move their businesses elsewhere if it became harder to do business in an independent Scotland.

"Many of the operators and service companies with Scottish operations are global by nature and the most important thing is Scotland remains an easy and profitable place to do business."

Scotland last held a referendum on independence in 2014. The vote achieved turnout of 84 percent of the populace, of which 55 percent voted no to independence from the United Kingdom.

However, a telephone survey of Scottish residents by pollsters Survation at the weekend found 41 percent thought Scotland should hold a second independence referendum and 54 percent said they would vote yes to independence.

A worker looks out onto the weather deck of the Armada gas condensate platform, operated by BG Group Plc, in the North Sea, off the coast of Aberdeen, U.K.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A worker looks out onto the weather deck of the Armada gas condensate platform, operated by BG Group Plc, in the North Sea, off the coast of Aberdeen, U.K.

More broadly, the current Brexit tensions may prove to be a positive result for oil producers due to the impact on sterling, according to Spencer Welch, director at market researchers IHS Energy.

"For those in the U.K. and those producing oil in the U.K. North Sea, the weaker U.K. currency will reduce costs because operating costs are paid in pounds but the product (oil) is sold in U.S. dollars," he told CNBC via email.

"But this is relatively minor, more important is that oil prices are heading back up again, albeit slowly."

Brexit dealt a big knock to the U.K. currency. Sterling had slipped to a 31-year low against the dollar on Monday. Oil prices had also experienced a dip.

"Oil price has dropped by $2 per barrel because of fear of reduced oil demand. However, fundamentally the oil market is in the healthiest position (as far as oil producers are concerned) for more than 2 years," Welch added.

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