New UK King Charles III May Resolve “Rosebank North Sea Oil” Question?

by admin on May 6, 2023

Some 40 Members of the European Union Congress say Foul!

Tory former net zero tsar calls for halt to Rosebank North Sea oil project

From the Article by Fiona Harvey, The Guardian UK, April 25, 2023

The UK government’s former “net zero tsar” has urged ministers to halt the development of the Rosebank oilfield in the North Sea, or risk destroying the UK’s credibility on the climate crisis.

Chris Skidmore, the influential Conservative MP who led the review of the UK’s climate goals, writes in the Guardian on Tuesday of his concern that the development could derail net zero.

Skidmore told the Guardian: “There is no such thing as a new net zero oilfield. Approving Rosebank would undermine UK claims to climate leadership on the world stage, undermine what the climate science tells us and undermine our efforts to achieve a net zero Britain by mid-century. To enhance our energy security, the government must say no to Rosebank, and instead give the green light to energy efficiency, rooftop solar, onshore wind and other forms of clean energy supply.”

Skidmore, a former energy and science minister, is the first Tory MP to openly oppose the Rosebank project. Rosebank is a massive potential North Sea development, three times bigger than the controversial Cambo field that was put on hold more than a year ago. It has the potential to produce 500m barrels of oil, which when burned would emit as much carbon dioxide as running 56 coal-fired power stations for a year.

The Observer reported earlier this month that Rosebank would effectively blow the UK’s carbon budget in the next decade, as greenhouse gas emissions from its operations alone – not counting emissions from any oil produced – would exceed the guideline amounts for the oil and gas sector.

Skidmore warned that going ahead with Rosebank could therefore be a problem for many UK industries beyond the North Sea, and inhibit the growth of green energy. “Other sectors of the economy, which are already playing their part to reach net zero, would have to cut their emissions further and faster to enable the UK to stay within its carbon budgets. Further, fields such as Rosebank may inhibit the UK’s transition away from fossil fuels due to competition for critical and limited supply chains that both industries share, including ports, vessels and the skilled workforce,” he wrote.

A decision on whether Rosebank can go ahead is believed to be imminent, and the government could stop it, though the energy secretary, Grant Shapps, has repeatedly said the decision is not up to him.

Equinor, the state-owned Norwegian company behind Rosebank, could receive an estimated £3.75bn of tax breaks and tax-funded incentives towards the estimated £4.1bn cost of the development, owing to loopholes in the government’s windfall tax on North Sea fossil fuels, according to estimates from the campaign group Uplift. About 80% of the fossil fuels produced by Rosebank are likely to be exploited, and the development could turn into a net loss of £100m to the UK taxpayer.

A spokesperson from Equinor told the Guardian: “Rosebank is a project that can help counteract the decline in domestic UK oil and gas production. As long as there is a need for oil and gas, we think it is important that we continue to invest in fields that can contribute to energy security with a low carbon footprint, while creating jobs and value for society. In this time of energy crisis, we don’t think it is helpful if western democracies stop developing their resources.” He added that it is estimated by some that the Rosebank project will bring £26.8 billion to the UK through tax payments and investments into the UK economy.

Tessa Khan, the founder and executive director of Uplift, said: “Approving Rosebank would be a disaster for Britain. UK taxpayers wouldn’t be any warmer or more secure, but Norway would be a lot richer. Every minute spent talking about Rosebank is a minute not spent scaling up renewables, insulating people’s homes and delivering economic opportunity in green industries for communities across the country.”

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green party are also opposed to Rosebank. Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, said: “When developing Rosebank would mean producing more emissions than 28 low-income countries combined, government approval would be morally obscene. The cross-party message from parliamentarians is clear: we must stop Rosebank.”

Last month, before the government’s “energy security day” announcements, which included a massive investment in carbon capture and storage under the North Sea, a group of about 700 scientists wrote to ministers asking them to halt new oil and gas developments.

The International Energy Agency warned before the UK-hosted Cop26 climate summit in 2021 that no new oil and gas exploration should take place, if the world was to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures. This year, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, called on governments to halt new licences for oil and gas exploration and development.

Khan said: “The government should heed the advice of leading scientists, the head of the UN, and the chair of their own net zero review, by saying no to Rosebank and yes to what people want: affordable clean energy.”

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said: “No decision has yet been made regarding the proposed Rosebank field. Development proposals for oil fields under existing licences are a matter for the regulators, who consider the impact on the environment when making their judgment.”


EU Lawmakers Call on UK to Scrap Rosebank Oil Field Plan

From an Article by John Ainger, Bloomberg News Service, April 19, 2023

A group of 40 European Union lawmakers have called on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to scrap plans to develop the Rosebank oil and gas field ahead of an energy summit next week. This project is in breach of global climate agreements says the MEPs.

Members of the European Parliament, led by Michael Bloss from the Green party, said in a letter seen by Bloomberg that development of the project operated by Equinor ASA threatens globally agreed climate targets.

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