Shell withdraws from oil project off the Scottish coast

Status: 03.12.2021 12:35 p.m.

Environmentalists have long been protesting against a planned oil field off the Scottish coast. Now they are getting an unexpected tailwind – from an oil multi of all things: Shell is withdrawing from the project.

By Imke Koehler, ARD-Studio London

The development of the Cambo oil field west of the Shetland Islands has long been controversial. Shell has now announced that it will withdraw from its 30 percent stake. The official justification for the move is that the economic arguments for the investment are not strong enough. Environmentalists, commentators and the Labor Party believe, however, that Shell also wants to avoid damage to its image with this decision.

Imke Koehler
ARD-Studio London

Scottish government is against the project

The Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon had argued last month that Cambo should not be given the green light. The unlimited promotion of fossil energies is incompatible with the obligations to protect the climate, according to Edinburgh. The decision as to whether or not oil may be extracted does not lie with the regional government, but is made at the national level. Greenpeace had already announced that it would file a lawsuit in the event of a positive decision. The environmental organization now hopes the project died after Shell withdrew.

Oil production for 25 years?

As things stand now, the main shareholder Siccar Point Energy intends to stick to the planned oil production. It is crucial for the UK economy and energy security, the company emphasizes. If the relevant British authority, the Oil and Gas Authority, gives permission, oil could be produced west of the Shetlands for the next quarter of a century as early as next year.

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