UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Friday 19 July 2024
 13.8°C   S Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Climate / Oil and gas needed for managed transition to net zero, says council leader

The Cambo field lies 125 kilometres north west of Shetland. Image: Siccar Point

SHETLAND needs further fossil fuel developments as well as renewable energy projects, on and offshore in the managed transition to net-zero.

That is the view of Shetland Islands Council leader Steven Coutts, who also said the oil tap could and should not be turned off overnight as future oil and gas exploration could be done with significantly smaller carbon footprint.

Coutts was speaking to Shetland News following last week’s announcement by Shell that the oil giant was pulling out of Cambo in which it holds a 30 per cent stake.

Over recent months Cambo has hardly ever been out of the national, and indeed international news, as it increasingly became the political battleground on which the country’s response to the climate crisis was fought.

Even first minster Nicola Sturgeon is now on record saying that Cambo should not be developed, a major change in Scotland’s energy policy – although the power lays with the UK Government.

SIC leader Steven Coutts: ‘It has to be a managed decline.’ Photo: Shetland News

While some analysts describe Shell’s withdrawal from Cambo as the deathblow for the oil and gas field 70 miles to the west of Shetland, others, including developer Siccar Point Energy, insist the project is needed to guarantee the UK’s energy security.

Often described as “a Shetland oil field” Cambo’s impact on the isles’ economy will be limited.

The Cambo field, which lies in 1,100 metres of water, is expected to produce 170 million barrels of oil equivalent during its 25-year operational life. The oil will be produced, stored and shipped via offshore loading and it will bypass Sullom Voe Terminal.

The produced gas will be used to power the floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) while the remainder of the gas will be exported via an existing pipeline system to the terminal at Sullom Voe.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

Coutts acknowledged the oil would not be piped to Shetland but added that “all the associated work with developing the field has a positive knock on effect on the isles”.

An option the council is particularly keen to explore is the electrification of offshore facilities through onshore renewable energy projects such as the Viking Energy wind farm currently under construction.

“The oil and gas industry is really important to Shetland, it supports around 1,000 jobs in the community, so anything that is happening in the sector is important to us,” Coutts said.

In its environmental impact assessment for the Cambo field, Siccar Point said that in the worst-case scenario the oil field’s carbon footprint over its lifetime could be as much as 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

This, however, could be reduced as it will have “built electrification ready to take power from renewable energy when feasible”, according to a Siccar Point statement.

The company said it is working with other oil and gas companies on “the challenges of electrification”, while it is also a steering group member of the ORION clean energy project.

“We are very much committed to the transition to net zero, but it has to be a transition that is right for the climate, the economy and society in Shetland as well, so it has to be a managed transition, we cannot immediately turn off the oil and gas taps,” Coutts insisted.

“We are clear that the oil and gas industry’s relative role will decline, but it has to be a managed decline, it is not a binary choice – we need to transition and we need to do it appropriately.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.