Backlash expected

Six oil fields poised to go ahead in North Sea

Kwasi Kwarteng
Kwasi Kwarteng: under pressure to fast-track licences

Six North Sea oil and gas fields are due to go-ahead this year, in a decision likely to spark a further backlash from climate change protestors.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is understood to be under pressure from the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to fast-track licences to enable construction to get under way.

The decision will almost certainly reopen arguments over further exploration and production for oil and gas in the North Sea, and is also causing widening divisions in the UK cabinent.

Boris Johnson has committed the UK to be carbon neutral by 2050 but the Treasury is concerned that refusing developments will be a costly act of self-denial that could leave the country at the mercy of overseas suppliers.

Drilling is expected to be approved by the Oil and Gas Authority in the Rosebank field, to the west of Shetland, and at Jackdaw, Marigold, Brodick, Catcher and Tolmount East.. 

Their combined reserves are thought to be enough to power the UK for six months, with 62 million tonnes of oil-equivalent fuel in the ground.

It emerged a week ago that the Abigail oil and gas field off the east coast of Scotland was quietly approved and will be developed by Israel-based firm Ithaca Energy.

Work at the Cambo field was halted late last year by private equity-backed fossil fuel explorer Siccar Point Energy, after its project partner Shell pulled out of the project following fierce opposition from environmental activists.

A Whitehall source told The Daily Telegraph: “The Business Secretary is pushing for more investment into the North Sea while we transition… Kwasi is actively resisting insane calls from Labour and the eco-lobby to turn off UK production.

“Doing so would trash energy security, kill off 200,000 jobs, and we would only end up importing more from foreign countries with dubious records.”

See also: BP sees profits soar amid ‘greening’ plans



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