The British government approves controversial oil extraction in the North Sea


Photo: Afghan National Police

The UK has granted permission to develop a new oil and gas field in the North Sea. Future drilling at the Rosebank field is controversial. Climate campaigners believe the British government is not keeping its promise to work towards net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Norwegian energy company Equinor and its industrial counterpart Ithaca plan to invest approximately $3.6 billion in oil and gas. It is located 130 kilometers northwest of the Shetland Islands. The two companies estimate that they are capable of drilling the equivalent of 300 million barrels of oil. The two companies are expected to be able to pump oil and gas from Rosebank starting in 2026.

The British government defends its permission to extract fossil fuels from new reserves on the grounds of energy security. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it became clear that large parts of Europe were dependent on Russia for gas.

Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security, said: “We support the UK oil and gas sector to support our energy security, grow our economy and transition to cheaper and cleaner energy.” “We will need oil and gas as part of the energy mix on the way to net zero emissions, so it makes sense to use our own reserves such as Rosebank in the North Sea.”

The British administration of Greenpeace does not have a good word to say about the decision. Philip Evans, the campaign’s leader, said: “This decision is nothing more than a blank check for fossil fuel companies to destroy the climate.”

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The regulatory body that approved oil and gas extraction from Rosebank says it also took greenhouse gas emissions into account in that decision. Equinor and Ithaca want to reduce emissions from their work on drilling rigs by operating mainly electrically. This will only be possible from 2030.

The British government has recently received a lot of criticism for its climate policy. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that he will weaken a number of plans to combat climate change, including a ban on the sale of new cars with petrol or diesel engines from 2030. This deadline has been brought forward by five years.

Megan Vasquez

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