UK Prime Minister: UK will need fossil fuels for “next few decades” amidst North Sea oil field development opposition

Ellen Milligan and John Ainger, Bloomberg May 10, 2023

(Bloomberg) – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK will need fossil fuels for the “next few decades” as the UK moves to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions, after being urged to oppose Equinor ASA’s Rosebank oil field project in the North Sea. 

“It makes absolutely no sense to not invest in the resources we have here at home, to import foreign fossil fuels, not create jobs here and import them at twice the carbon emissions as our local resources,” Sunak told lawmakers in weekly questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday. “It is an economically illiterate policy.”

Sunak was responding to a question from Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas who said giving Rosebank the green light would “blow climate targets.”

The International Energy Agency has said there can be no new oil and gas production if the world is to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Regulators are yet to give final consent for Rosebank, which Equinor would develop under an existing license. Equinor is seeking to make a final investment decision on the project, located west of Scotland’s Shetland Islands, before the end of June.

The company isn’t set to begin pumping oil and gas until at least 2026. Daily production of 70,000 bbl of oil and 21 MMcf of gas, planned for 2027, would make it one of the largest fields in the UK.

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