A view of Sullom Voe Terminal, an oil and gas terminal in the Shetland Islands on September 2021.
Adrian Dennis | Afp | Getty Images
LONDON — British regulators on Wednesday gave approval for Norway’s energy giant Equinor to develop the controversial U.K. offshore Rosebank field in the North Sea, just off the northwest coast of the Shetland Islands.
The North Sea Transition Authority said it has also given the necessary consent.
The U.K. government said it had given operator Equinor and British energy company Ithaca Energy — which hold respective 80% and 20% stakes in the field — permission to proceed following “extensive scrutiny by the regulators,” including regarding the environmental impact of the development.
Equinor says the project will be pursued in two phases and estimates it will create £8.1 billion ($9.8 billion) of direct investment.
“We are investing on our world-leading renewable energy but, as the independent Climate Change Committee recognise, we will need oil and gas as part of that mix on the path to net zero and so it makes sense to use our own supplies from North Sea fields such as Rosebank,” U.K. Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho said in a statement.
Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt said: “We are accelerating renewables and nuclear power, but will still need oil and gas for decades to come — so let’s get more of what we need from within British waters.”
The Rosebank development has faced intense public backlash amid concerns over its environmental impact. The approval comes after Britain in July confirmed plans to issue hundreds of new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea, despite its stated target to decarbonize all of the national sectors of the economy by 2050.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly.