The lack of support from the UK and Scottish governments caused oil giant to pull out of Cambo field.

Shell pulled out of a major North Sea oil project that was supposed to help secure UK energy supplies. This was in addition to lacklustre political support from Westminster and Holyrood.

Cambo, an oil field located off the Shetland Islands, was expected to create approximately 1,000 jobs and produce more than 170m barrels equivalent of oil. This will boost the UK’s oil-and-gas industry as it shifts towards greener energy.

It has been under constant attack by campaigners, who demand it be blocked by the UK Government. Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland’s first minister) has openly opposed this project.

Shell’s senior executives are believed to be frustrated by the UK Government’s inability to support Cambo.

After the company claimed it had done a comprehensive screening and concluded that the economic case for investing in the project was not strong enough, environmentalists called this “shoulder-crashing blow”.

Shell’s fears about delays could be misinterpreted by the political climate. Cambo may become entangled in legal challenges, regulatory delays or protests.

The government’s Oil and Gas Authority is currently reviewing the project. Anti-fossil fuel activists are turning increasingly to the courts. A group challenging the UK Government’s support for oil and natural gas in the High Court.

Shell owns 30pc of this licence, along with Siccar Point Energy. Siccar Point Energy stated that it is “confident” about the project’s qualities and would “continue engaging” with the UK Government over its future.

Shell, which has been operating in the North Sea for many decades, accounts for around 10pc of UK’s oil-and-gas production. This decision is a major moment in the bitter struggle to determine the speed and form of transitioning to greener energy.

Despite all efforts to shift towards renewable energy, oil & gas still account for more than 75pc total energy in the UK. They fuel most cars, boilers, and 40pc electricity.

Cambo backers argue that the UK would become more dependent on imports from Russia or the Gulf. However, opponents worry it will prolong the lives of fossil fuels and increase carbon emissions.

This debate is especially relevant for the UK’s oil and gas industry, which has been affected by the crash in oil prices and pandemics and has seen declining interest from majors as a result of dwindling oil reserves.

Ministers have committed to supporting the industry in developing cleaner hydrogen and carbon-capture systems, and running platforms on clean energy. This will help replace lost oil jobs. However, this will also require substantial private investment from the likes of Shell.

Liam Kerr from the Scottish Conservative shadow cabinet secretary to energy said Cambo would be “massively benefit our economy, securing oil and gas domestically while demand remains high”.

He said, “It is obviously disappointing that Shell has pulled away from Cambo, but it’s a business decision for them,”

“Recently, Nicola Sturgeon’s language regarding oil and gas was more harmful than it was helpful. This will make it more difficult for energy companies and their ability to invest in oil, gas, and the technology and skills required to achieve carbon net-zero.

Steve Baker, Tory MP, and Chairman of the influential Covid Recovery Group accused the critics of the project, of sabotaging livelihoods and jobs.

He said, “I congratulate all who have tried to stop hydrocarbon investments and I hope that they will accept responsibility when we emerge from an energy crisis caused a major political failure in history.”

“This will cost jobs and hit ordinary people extremely hard. It is not only the SNP or Labour that are to blame but also members of my Conservative Party. It is essential that we find economically and politically viable solutions. Unfortunately, this path is not the right one.

Greenpeace stated that Shell’s decision should be the end of Cambo. “The Government is becoming an increasingly lonely figure through their continued support for Cambo.”

A spokesperson for the UK Government stated that this was a commercial decision made by Shell on its own.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government stated that “unlimited extraction of fossil fuels does not comply with our climate obligations” and called on the UK Government to urgently review all oil licenses approved by it where drilling has not started in violation of our climate commitments.


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