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Community / Watch: Campaigners rally against Rosebank

A PROTEST against the proposed Rosebank oil and gas development was held in Lerwick on Saturday afternoon – outside the Clickimin where the council’s climate festival was taking place.

It formed part of a wider day of protests across the UK against the development.

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

The field sits around 130km to the west of Shetland, and Norwegian state-owned energy company Equinor is behind the development. Its final go-ahead rests with the UK Government.

The day of protest across the UK coincidentally came as the Shetland Climate Festival was taking place at the Clickimin.

Locally a group of campaigners were joined in the fine weather by the local samba band as they made their voices heard. A ‘Stop Rosebank’ sign – with roses placed on it – was set on the grass at the edge of the Clickimin car park.

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Campaigners against the development have expressed concern over the climate impact of Rosebank, as well as over its location near a marine protected area.

But those on the other side say oil is needed during the transition to net zero.

Photo: Shetland News

Protest organiser Andrea Sánchez said: “I’m really pleased we were able to take a stand on this issue.

“The science is absolutely clear: humanity cannot afford to burn existing developed reserves and we certainly can’t afford to build new oil and gas infrastructure.

“Even the head of the UN António Guterres has said that it’s delusional to think otherwise. We will need some oil and gas to get through the transition and I know how important it has been to Shetland, but business as usual is not going to cut it.

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“I’ve got three kids and I’m worried about what sort of future they will have if climate change gets out of control. We need to leave as much of that oil and gas in the ground as we possibly can.”

She said the demonstration went “really well” considering the decision to go ahead with it only came last week.

Equinor itself says it would “bring much needed energy security and investment in the UK while supporting the UK’s net zero target”.

It would be developed with a Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO) tied to a subsea production system.

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

Equinor also said there is the potential to reduce production emissions from Rosebank by more than 70 per cent through electrification of the FPSO.

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