US OIL company Chevron is likely to delay the development of the Rosebank oil and gas field, 80 miles northwest of Shetland, according to press reports.
The Daily Telegraph predicted on Friday that the news would send “a chill through the North Sea oil industry”, but Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said a delay could actually help the local industry.
In July last year, the oil giant announced that it was going ahead with the engineering and design work for the £6 billion development.
The project, if built, would include a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, production and water injection wells, subsea facilities, and a gas export pipeline.
Earlier this summer, Chevron also confirmed that they were considering using the mothballed airport at Baltasound, on the island of Unst, to service Rosebank.
On Friday however the company said rising costs had made Rosebank financially less attractive but added that they had not suspended the project.
A final investment is expected to be made next year.
Scott said a delay could work in favour of Shetland’s overheating economy.
“It may take more years to develop than previously thought, but I have no doubts that it will be developed.
“Shetland is cooking on gas at the moment; I believe it would be a very good thing for Shetland if some of these projects would slip back a bit.
“We don’t have much capacity to deal with more at the moment. There may well be a big upside by Rosebank being brought back some years, as our ability to service these developments would be enhanced,” the MSP said.
He added that a delay would also give Sullom Voe a chance to bid for the oil to be pipelined to the terminal.
Earlier this week the Norwegian oil company Statoil announced that it was delaying a decision on the Bressay heavy oil field, east of Shetland.
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