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This Thursday the people of Scotland will choose between remaining in the United Kingdom or going at it alone.  If recent polls are accurate, the referendum will be a toss-up. However, there is still a looming question unanswered; could energy play a role in pushing the undecided one way or another?

On a recent drive through the Scottish countryside, it became evident that both cultural ties and economic bonds drive the upcoming decision, leaving some issues, such as the future of energy production within the state, an unknown.

Although officially part of England since 1707, when the Act of Union consolidated the crowns of England and Scotland under the “Kingdom of Great Britain,” Scots have really been fussing, fighting, and arguing over politics and independence since medieval times. Scotland has long been a source of strong support for the Labour Party, and whose prior successes in UK politics would have been clearly dampened without the left leaning Scots.

The importance of oil and gas production in the Scottish economy is undeniable.  Without oil and gas, Scotland carries a £14 billion ($22.77 billion) deficit which amounts to 11% of Scotland’s GDP, a percentage higher than Greece and other struggling economies.  However, the presence of the UK in the Scottish economy is equally undeniable, especially in financing future developments, such as a  £14 billion renewable energy project which would also bring 12,000 jobs to the country.

Read the full article at Forbes.