The UK oil and gas regulator has just given the go-ahead for the Rosebank oil and gas field in the north sea to be developed.
In a statement this morning, the North Sea Transition Authority said: “We have today approved the Rosebank Field Development Plan which allows the owners to proceed with their project”.
“The FDP is awarded in accordance with our published guidance and taking net zero considerations into account throughout the project’s lifecycle.”
The decision will now allow Oslo-based company Equinox to start drilling in the Rosebank oil field just west of the Shetland Islands, one of the largest fields in the North Atlantic.
The announcement is a vindication for PM Rishi Sunak, who hinted at wanting the project to go ahead in May.
Mr Sunak said it would be “economically illiterate” not to invest in UK oil and gas, despite the country’s commitment to Net Zero by 2050, as we will need fossil fuels for “the next few decades”.
Rosebank is capable of producing up to 500 million barrels of oil.
Mr Sunak’s comments sparked backlash by environmentalists, including Greenpeace who launched a petition against drilling in the field, which has since garnered 120,000 signatures.
Responding to this morning’s news, Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho said she backed the regulator’s decision.
“We will not play politics with our energy security. Even the independent Climate Change Committee has said that in 2050, we will need oil and gas for a quarter of our energy.
“The choice we face is this: do we shut down our own oil and gas leaving us reliant on foreign regimes? Do we lose 200,000 jobs across the UK? Do we import fuel with much higher carbon footprints instead? And lose billions in tax revenue?
“Keir Starmer’s approach will lead to higher emissions and fewer British jobs. Labour would leave us worse off and threaten our ability to keep the lights on.
“We are a world leader at reducing carbon emissions but as much as we will be ambitious, we must be pragmatic that is why I support the NSTA’s decision to approve Rosebank today.”