Dozens of MPs have voiced opposition to approval of the Rosebank oilfield in a letter to the UK Government.
- More than 50 cross-party MPs and Peers have written to energy secretary Grant Shapps.
- Equinor said last week it has a “clear expectation” the field will be approved soon, while the UK’s energy department said no decision has been made or timeline given.
- New oil and gas fields are not compatible with a net zero by 2050 scenario.
BBC news reports that more than 50 cross-party MPs and Peers have written to energy secretary Grant Shapps.
It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said this week he would seek to “max out” North Sea production to help reduce reliance on imports from overseas.
He also hinted at approval of the Rosebank oilfield.
It’s been reported that the development in the West of Shetland could be approved in Autumn – though the timeline has shifted frequently.
The UK’s energy department said no decision has been made or timeline given.
MPs argued it would be damaging to the environment, and that the current tax incentives linked to the energy profits levy would effectively subsidise the field.
Equinor said last week it has a “clear expectation” the field will be approved soon.
Torgrim Reitan, the company’s chief financial officer, said: “Rosebank is a very good project for the UK – it is important for energy security in times like this. It will be a low-carbon footprint development, compared to the average in the UK, and it will contribute quite massively, with some £30 billion in taxes and investments over the life of the field, as well as 1,600 jobs at peak.
“Rosebank is being matured according to plan. We are awaiting final conclusion on a couple of topics, and final approval from the regulators. But we have a clear expectation that this will move forward and there will be some clarifications not too far into the future.”
Rosebank is the largest untapped field in UK waters and has come under particular scrutiny, particularly against energy security claims as an oilfield.
Last year, the UK used 38% produced its own domestic gas supply, but oil is largely sold on the global market.
Earlier this year, the NSTA regulator’s CEO, Stuart Payne, highlighted the UK remains a net importer of oil – with its reliance of oil-based products.
That’s in part due to limited refining capacity in the UK and different demand for different types of oil.
“That some of it goes through refineries as Product A and we then have to buy it back as product B – yeah, those things move around because that’s a reality of how that world works.
“We still need to do the work around making sure we have control over those molecules. It’s still a security of supply issue, it’s just a different one,” he told Energy Voice in June.
Projected to produce 300 million barrels of oil, Rosebank is due to achieve first production in 2027.
According to the Equinor environmental statement, Rosebank will, on average, emit 165 kilotonnes of CO2 per year – that’s around 1.6% of the annual emissions of the UK offshore sector, based on North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) figures.
The intensity of Rosebank’s emissions – how much CO2 it produces per barrel – will depend greatly on electrification of the floating production unit (FPSO).
That’s a process of replacing power, typically supplied from gas-fired generators, with clean electricity via cable from shore or a link to a wind farm.
Equinor says, with Rosebank electrified, it will have emissions of 3 kg of CO2 per barrel, “one of the lowest ever CO2 footprints” in UK waters, compared to a sector average of 20 kg per barrel.
However, if it isn’t electrified, Rosebank will emit four times as much at 12 kg of CO2 per barrel of oil produced.