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Energy / Rosebank decision expected soon

Rosebank is situated to the west of Shetland.

IT NOW looks more than likely that the development of the Rosebank oil and gas field to the west of Shetland will get the go ahead by the UK Government.

While on a visit to Shetland on Thursday, Andrew Bowie – a minister in the department for energy security and net zero – said that although it was not his decision, he was all for it.

Rosebank is the largest undeveloped oil field in the North Sea region and has the potential to produce 500 million barrels of oil over its lifetime.

Oil will be transported to refineries by shuttle tankers, while gas will be exported through the West of Shetland Pipeline system.

Majority state-owned by Norwegian energy company Equinor, climate campaigners have been saying for some time that Rosebank, should it go ahead, would derail the UK’s journey to net zero.

Bowie said whether Rosebank would go ahead was a decision for the North Sea Transition Authority in Aberdeen. A formal announcement would then be made by prime minister Rishi Sunak.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Nuclear and Networks) at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero at the Kergord converter station on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

“I don’t know where in the process we are, all I know is that the North Sea Transition Authority is looking at this right now,” the minister told Shetland News.

“My view as energy minister is that we have to continue to invest (…) in our fossil fuel production supporting our oil and gas industry and its workers, as we transition away from oil and gas to more renewables and new technologies are moving forward.

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“We have to continue maximising economic recovery so that we are not reliant on foreign actors, so that we do not have to rely on imports of oil and gas.”

Bowie said the UK will continue to be reliant on oil and gas production from the North Sea “at least in part” for the next 20 to 30 years.

“It is a declining basin, but we will be reliant on it for some time,” he said.

Stop Rosebank campaigners meanwhile protested at Equinor’s AGM in Stavanger, and also in London, earlier in the week.

Climate campaigner Tessa Khan, who will be one of the speakers at the Shetland Islands Council’s climate ‘festival’ next month, said: “The Rosebank oil field will do nothing to secure Britain’s energy supply or lower household bills.

“It will blow through our carbon budget all while costing the taxpayer £3.75 billion thanks to extremely generous government subsidies.”

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