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Campaigners hail "nail in coffin" of North Sea oil production

This news post is about 2 years old

Work on new oilfield has been halted

Campaigners are hoping a pause in the development of an oilfield off Shetland will signal the beginnng of the end to North Sea oil production.

Shell, which had been planning to develop the Cambo field with the private equity-backed fossil fuel explorer Siccar Point Energy, pulled out of the project last week after fierce opposition to it from environmental activists.

On Friday Siccar’s chief executive, Jonathan Roger, said: “Following Shell’s announcement last week, we are in a position where the Cambo project cannot progress on the originally planned timescale. We are pausing the development while we evaluate next steps.”

The StopCambo campaign group said the decision was “a vindication of the opposition to Cambo voiced by thousands of people across the UK”.

Green campaigners have argued that Cambo, which lies 78 miles west of Shetland’s islands in waters 1,000 metres deep, should not get a green light given the UK’s legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns said it was another “nail in the coffin” for the Cambo oil field.

“Climate science is very clear that fossil fuels are driving the crisis and new projects anywhere in the world are a threat to people everywhere.

“The UK government must officially reject the Cambo proposal once and for all and end licensing for all new oil and gas projects if it wants to play its part in limiting dangerous climate warming.

“Planning for a rapid and just transition to renewable energy cannot wait any longer or continue to be left to the whims of fossil fuel companies and the market.”

Cambo’s derailment is being seen as a “turning point” for the UK’s North Sea oil and gas industry as it faces growing opposition due to climate concerns, which could spell an end to “any truly large-scale projects being sanctioned” in the future.

Tommy Vickerstaff, a campaigner with, said the “huge and brilliant news for the StopCambo campaign” was “a testament to the power of protest”.

But Vickerstaff added that the decision should have been taken by the government alongside a plan for the UK’s oil and gas workers.

“We need to see real, concrete investment in retraining and good jobs for these workers,” Vickerstaff said.