Minister says Cambo will limit UK’s oil imports
David Duguid: ‘sources like Cambo are still required’
Scotland Office Minister David Duguid has defended plans to develop the Cambo oil field off the west coast of Scotland, as preferable to increasing the UK’s imports of fuels.
Mr Duguid will hold talks with Siccar Point Energy in Aberdeen on Tuesday “to learn more about the oil field” which was granted a licence in 2001.
On Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to “reassess” the licence following pressure from environmental campaigners to pull the plug on Cambo.
The following day Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross wrote to Ms Sturgeon urging her to support Scottish jobs in the oil and gas industry rather than “provoking a grievance with the UK government”.
Recalling the SNP slogan, ‘It’s Scotland’s Oil’, he said the undeveloped Cambo field in the North Sea would help to protect the 100,000 jobs connected to the sector and potentially create even more.
He pointed out that oil and gas makes up 79% of all Scottish energy consumption and 91% of heat demand. The UK imported £1.6 billion of gas and £1.3 billion of petroleum products.
Ahead of his meeting with Siccar, Mr Duguid, the Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, said: “As we transition to cleaner, low-carbon and renewable energy, demand for oil and gas is declining and will continue to do so, even with new fields such as Cambo.
“But until that transition is made, as the UK Government is pioneering with the North Sea Transition Deal, sources like Cambo are still required.
“The Independent Climate Change Committee advises that we will continue to need oil and gas in the coming years as it is still vital to the production of many everyday essentials, including medicines.
“It is far preferable for the UK’s needs to come from our domestic supply, supporting our own workers, rather than relying on imports whose sources may not be responsibly recovered.
“Not producing our own oil and gas through the energy transition not only risks the economy and jobs, but also security of energy supply.”
The Oil and Gas Authority is considering whether to approve extraction of an estimated 800 million barrels of oil from Cambo.
In her letter to Mr Johnson, Ms Sturgeon called for the UK Government to “agree to reassess licences already issued but where field development has not yet commenced.”
“That would include the proposed Cambo development.”
She added: “Such licences, some of them issued many years ago, should be reassessed in light of the severity of the climate emergency we now face, and against a compatibility checkpoint that is fully aligned with our climate change targets and obligations.”