Shell this afternoon gave the green light to a major new oil field in the Gulf of Mexico, its first such project to be approved since a Dutch court ordered the oil giant to cut emissions quicker.
At peak production, the field, which is called “Whale”, will provide an estimated 100,000 barrels of oil per day.
In total, the Anglo-Dutch company estimates that it the field have a recoverable resource of 490m barrels of oil.
The field, which is minority owned by US oil major Chevron, is set to go into production in 2024.
“Whale is the latest demonstration of our focus on simplification, replication and capital projects with shorter cycle times to drive greater value from our advantaged positions,” said Wael Sawan, Shell upstream director, said.
“We are building on more than 40 years of deep-water expertise to deliver competitive projects that yield high-margin barrels so that we are able to meet the energy demands of today while generating the cash required to help fund the development of the energy of the future.”
The decision to go ahead with the project comes a week after Shell said that it would appeal May’s historic court decision, when it was ordered to slash greenhouse emissions by 45 per cent from 2019 levels by 2030.
Although it said it would take steps to accelerate its energy transition plans, the FTSE 100 firm said that singling out individual companies was not an effective means of tackling climate change.
“We agree urgent action is needed and we will accelerate our transition to net zero,” said chief executive, Ben van Beurden.
“But we will appeal because a court judgment, against a single company, is not effective. What is needed is clear, ambitious policies that will drive fundamental change across the whole energy system.”
Later this week Shell will report its second quarter results, having already said it would increase shareholder returns to 20-30 per cent of its cash flow, surprising analysts with the speed of the move.