Britain's Oil and Gas Authority has approved the development of the largest new North Sea gas field in more than a decade, Chancellor George Osborne announced Monday.
The opening of the Culzean field is expected to produce enough gas at peak production to meet five percent of total British demand for gas.
Osborne said it would lead to an investment of over 4.6 billion U.S. dollars in the North Sea industry and its supply chain, supporting up to 6,000 British jobs and creating more than 400 new jobs.
Comments made by Osborne Monday will be viewed as a snipe at Scotland's ambitions to become independent.
Speaking in Aberdeen, Osborne said: "Despite its claims, the Scottish government would have struggled to deliver such support alone -- its own numbers showed that due to the current oil price, an independent Scotland would have faced a 20-billion-pound (32 billion U.S. dollars) black hole in its public finances over the first three years."
The Culzean field, operated by Maersk Oil, was discovered in 2008.
The project has been supported by an allowance scheme introduced by the British government as part of the package of measures to support the oil and gas industry.
In his speech, Osborne added: "Already, the UK's oil and gas industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and this investment comes on the back of massive government support for the sector."
Andy Samuel, chief executive of the Oil and Gas Authority said: "The three billion pounds investment by Maersk Oil and its partners to develop the Culzean discovery is excellent news for the UK during a period when the decline in global oil prices has created difficult operating conditions for this critical sector of our economy."
Oil and gas experts have estimated that the Culzean field has a reserve of up to 300 million barrels of oil, which would make it the biggest field to be exploited since the East Brae field was discovered off Scotland in 1990.
Gas is expected to start flowing from Culzean in 2019 and, according to Maersk, will continue to supply gas at the rate of 60,000 to 90,000 barrels a day for at least 13 years.