Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has backed the approval of Rosebank, the UK’s largest undeveloped oil and gas field in the North Sea after it was greenlit by regulators this morning.
He argued that the UK would still need oil and gas in the push to net zero over the next three decades, and that it made sense to prioritise domestic production to meet demand.
“This is the right long-term decision for the UK’s energy security,” he wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Sunak also referenced the latest report from the Climate Change Committee, which calculates a quarter of the UK’s energy needs will still need to be met by oil and gas.
“The Climate Change Committee have said you don’t reach Net Zero by wishing it. As we make the transition to renewables, we will still need oil and gas – it makes sense to use our own supplies such as Rosebank,” he said.
Rosebank is a major oil and gas project 80 miles off the coast of the Shetland Isles, overseen by stakeholders Equinor and Ithaca Energy.
Both companies have committed a collective £3bn to the development, which is projected to provide up to 300m barrels of oil and gas over its operational lifetime – with production set to begin in 2026/27.
Shadow secretary of state for business and trade Jonathan Reynolds told Times Radio earlier this morning that while Labour does not support the opening of the Rosebank oil field, the party would not revoke its licence in government.
“We wouldn’t grant it, but we wouldn’t revoke any licences that are granted before a general election,” he said.
This follows opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer committing to not retroactively banning approved projects if it wins the next election.
Shares in oil and gas producers in the North Sea have ticked up on the London Stock Exchange, following today’s announcement.
Ithaca’s share price has soared 8.5 per cent in early trading, while Enquest (3.5 per cent), Harbour Energy (1.94 per cent) and Serica (0.6 per cent) have also seen an upturn in early trading.