What’s going on here?

On the 27th of September 2023, the UK Government approved the controversial plans for the development of the Rosebank oil field. The verdict was delivered, despite widespread opposition due to the resulting climate impacts.

What does this mean?

The Rosebank oil field is situated off the west coast of Shetland in the UK and represents the UK’s largest untapped oil field – containing up to 500 million barrels of oil. The joint owners of the field are Equinor, the Norwegian state-owned oil giant, and Ithaca energy.

Advocates for the development say that it will create jobs and generate a large amount of tax revenues for the UK treasury. The UK’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak indicated his support for the plans: “This is the right long-term decision for the UK’s energy security”. This in spite of the fact that an estimated 75% of the UK’s oil production was exported last year.

Why should we care?

The development of the field will have significant implications for the climate crisis. When burned, Rosebank’s oil and gas will emit a quantity of carbon dioxide equivalent to running 56 coal-fired power stations for a year.

Recommendations made by the world’s leading energy analysts, as well as the UN secretary general, strongly advocate that no new fossil fuel exploration should take place if the world is to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures. However, the UK government has repeatedly displayed a disregard for these recommendations, in addition to a lack of leadership: recently announcing a major U-turn on it’s climate commitments.

Be curious!

Featured image: Andrea Domeniconi