Shell ‘reconsidering’ decision to pull out of Cambo oilfield

Oil giant says ‘economic, political and regulatory environment changed enormously’ since it withdrew from controversial project

Zoe Tidman
Tuesday 22 March 2022 09:42 GMT
Campaigners from Greenpeace opposed to Cambo oilfield project outside Downing Street
Campaigners from Greenpeace opposed to Cambo oilfield project outside Downing Street (PA)

Energy company Shell is reconsidering its decision to pull out of the controversial Cambo oilfield, according to reports.

The oil giant had said the economic case for investment was “not strong enough” when it withdrew from the project - which has been met with fierce opposition from environmentalists - towards the end of last year.

Days later, work on the proposed North Sea oilfield off the Shetland Isleswas put on pause.

Sources have told the BBC that although the company’s official position remains the same, it did acknowledge the “economic, political and regulatory environment had changed enormously” in the three months since Shell announced it was pulling out of the project.

It comes amid the rising price of oil, which has jumped to more than 100 dollars (£76) a barrel as fears over the future of Russian oil has sent prices soaring.

According to the BBC, when Shell pulled out of the project the price of crude oil was under $70 a barrel.

Fuel costs have been soaring in the UK in recent weeks as the price of oil spikes, with petrol hitting a new record for the eighth day in a row at £1.67 a litre on Sunday, when diesel also reached an all-time high at £1.79 a litre.

The UK prime minister said he wants to “remove barriers” to increased extraction of fossil fuels from the North Sea as part of his plan to wean the UK off reliance on Russian energy - which includes phasing out its oil by the end of the year.

But his has sparked concern from green groups, who warned this could threaten global warming targets.

Environmentalists have long opposed the proposed Cambo field, warning it would jeopardise hundreds of species in the ocean. In summer last year, work was postponed after Greenpeace campaigners on kayaks confronted a ship in Norway that was preparing equipment for the project.

In November, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the project should not go ahead following months of pressure from opposition parties and campaigners for the Scottish Government to make its position on Cambo clear.

Industry body Oil and Gas UK previously said blocking long-planned energy projects like Cambo would risk leaving the UK at the mercy of global energy shortages.

But the International Energy Authority said last year there was no place for new fossil fuel projects if the world wanted to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Additional reporting by Press Association

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in