BP gets go ahead for £4.5bn North sea project

The UK government has given the go-ahead for BP and three partners to proceed with a £4.5bn North Sea oil and gas project.

BP, Shell , ConocoPhillips and Chevron will now enter the second phase of the Clair Ridge project, the development of a field west of the remote Scottish Shetland Islands.

BP said the investment it was making in this and three other projects would be the highest annual investment it had ever made in the UK North Sea.

"After some years of decline, we now see the potential to maintain our production from the North Sea at around 200,000-250,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day until 2030," said BP chief executive Bob Dudley in a statement.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the project and said the investment would provide a "massive boost for jobs and growth" in the country.

Unemployment in Britain is at its highest level in 17 years as the economy teeters on the brink of recession.