The UK government has acknowledged that the Rosebank oil will not be stored within the country in order to enhance energy reliability.
The UK government has acknowledged that oil from the contentious Rosebank field will be marketed globally instead of being consumed domestically in the UK.
Government officials have consistently stated that the development of the large oilfield near Shetland will enhance energy security in the UK and benefit consumers, despite objections from climate experts and their own advisors.
In a response provided in writing to a question posed by a member of parliament, the government seems to acknowledge that the private companies involved in extracting oil will primarily sell it on the global market. The government stated, “It is not advisable to mandate private companies to distribute North Sea oil and gas for domestic consumption.”
In September, the Rosebank field received approval and has the ability to yield 500 million barrels of oil over its lifespan. However, this amount of oil, when burned, would release the same amount of carbon dioxide as operating 56 coal-fired power plants for a year.
The project has encountered strong opposition, with numerous climate scientists and academics as well as over 200 organizations, ranging from the Women’s Institute to Oxfam, joining tens of thousands of individuals throughout the UK in protesting against it.
In the previous month, two organizations, Greenpeace and Uplift, revealed individual legal objections to the plan, which will be reviewed in the beginning of this year.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a Member of Parliament from the Labour party, submitted a question to parliament regarding the government’s plans for the Rosebank project. In response, Russell-Moyle criticized the government for using the project as a political ploy to gain support from a specific group of voters. He argues that this approach disregards the impact on both the environment and future generations, and instead calls for a careful and fair transition away from carbon-producing industries.
The government is persisting with their pursuit of the Rosebank field despite warnings from scientists. Officials have consistently defended the proposal, claiming it will address our energy requirements, create jobs in the UK, generate tax income, and attract investment.
The government emphasized the perceived significance of increasing fossil fuel extraction for maintaining energy security in the king’s speech: “We will pass laws to bolster the United Kingdom’s energy security and decrease dependence on unstable global energy markets and unfriendly foreign governments. This legislation will aid in the future approval of fresh oil and gas deposits, aiding the country’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 without placing excessive strain on households.”
In September, the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, stated that Rosebank would aid in avoiding a situation where young individuals become reliant on foreign dictators for energy security.
However, in response to Russell-Moyle’s inquiry, the government seems to acknowledge that this will not have a significant effect on the UK’s energy security or the increasing cost of household bills. The government explains, “Due to UK refinery standards and international market conditions, approximately 80% of oil produced in the UK is refined abroad to meet the demands of the UK market. It is not preferable to mandate private companies to reserve North Sea oil and gas for domestic consumption.”
According to Alexander Kirk from Global Witness, the government has finally acknowledged that drilling and exporting more expensive fossil fuels will not improve the UK’s energy security and will harm the planet.
The ownership of UK’s oil and gas lies with the companies responsible for extracting and selling it in the global market. The development of new oilfields, such as Rosebank, will only benefit wealthy fossil fuel companies and will not provide aid to the millions of struggling British citizens facing financial difficulties.
According to a representative from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, it is logical for the UK, being a net importer, to utilize domestically-sourced resources in order to mitigate the diminishing production of oil and gas within the country. This strategy aims to decrease our susceptibility to hostile states.
The statement mentioned: “We pledge to support the UK’s oil and gas sector, which is crucial for our energy stability, employs up to 200,000 workers, and is expected to generate approximately £50 billion in tax income over the next five years – contributing to our goal of achieving net zero emissions.”