Activists disrupt energy conference in protest over Rosebank oil field approval

Rosebank, located west of Shetland off the Scottish coast, is thought to be one of the largest untapped oil fields in UK waters.

Harry Stedman
Tuesday 14 November 2023 14:07 GMT
Fossil Free London of activists demonstrated against oil and gas drilling at Rosebank this week (Fossil Free London/PA)
Fossil Free London of activists demonstrated against oil and gas drilling at Rosebank this week (Fossil Free London/PA)

A group of climate activists have disrupted an energy conference in London in protest against the Government’s approval of drilling the Rosebank oil field.

Demonstrators from Fossil Free London interrupted the Gas, LNG and the Future of Energy conference at the Hilton Hotel in Tower Bridge on Tuesday.

Furious speeches and chants of “Stop Rosebank” were made before the activists were dragged out by security, the climate campaign group said.

The conference included discussions on the uncertainty currently existing in the gas industry and the role of gas in supporting the energy transition.

Rosebank, located west of Shetland off the Scottish coast, is thought to be one of the largest untapped oil fields in UK waters.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans for new drilling at Rosebank and other North Sea oil fields in August, which were then granted consent by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) the following month.

A commitment to the future licensing of new oil and gas fields was then reiterated in the King’s Speech on November 7.

Greta Thunberg was among those at another protest against the decision outside the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in Guildhall, where Mr Sunak gave a speech on foreign policy, on Monday.

Joanna Warrington, spokesperson for Fossil Free London, said: “Rosebank would be an unremitting disaster for the climate and for energy security. It would blow our climate targets to pieces, while costing us billions in public money.

“The only winners from Rosebank are the bosses of oil giant Equinor, who’ll be rubbing their hands with glee.

“Rishi Sunak and his kamikaze Government are blatantly putting the interest of their billionaire oil mates above those of ordinary people.

“Public services are crumbling, families are facing grinding poverty, but the Government’s priority is to splash cash on a publicly-funded carbon bomb.”

Rosebank could produce 69,000 barrels of oil per day, about 8% of the UK’s projected daily output between 2026 and 2030, and could also produce 44 million cubic feet of gas every day, according to its owners Ithaca Energy and Equinor.

Critics – including Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf – have said the development will damage net zero ambitions.

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