April 13, 2022

BREAKING: Campaigners blockade UK government offices in Edinburgh to demand Boris Johnson #StopJackdaw

PRESS RELEASE: Approving new Jackdaw gas field benefits Shell not public, say campaigners

High res photos of the action will be available here from about 12.30pm. 

Media contact: Tamasin Cave, Uplift. Tamasin@upliftuk.org; 07973 424 015

Today, campaigners gathered outside the UK government offices in Edinburgh to demand that Ministers reject a plan by Shell to open a controversial new North Sea gas field, Jackdaw.(1) 

Photo credit: Lauren Waterman

In a rally organised by the Stop Cambo campaign at 12pm outside the UK government offices, campaigners pointed out that approving the Jackdaw field will do nothing to lower soaring energy bills, but will narrow our chances of maintaining a liveable climate. The only winners from approving Jackdaw are Shell, which owns the gas and will profit from selling it back to us. Today’s demonstration launches a wave of campaigning activities to #StopJackdaw. 

If approved, Jackdaw’s output will only meet around 1- 2% of UK gas demand over its lifetime. It wouldn’t produce any gas, however, until 2025, with production peaking in 2026 and dropping by almost 60% within four years. Burning the gas in Jackdaw, though, would create more than half the annual emissions of Scotland, or more than Ghana’s entire annual emissions.  

A government consultation on whether or not to approve Shell’s plans for Jackdaw, runs until 18 April 2022 (Easter Monday).(2)

The protest comes in the wake of the UK government’s failure to address both the climate and cost of living crises in last week’s Energy Security Strategy. Published just days after the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warned that planned new fossil fuel infrastructure would push us past safe climate targets, the UK Energy Strategy reaffirmed the government’s commitment to allowing new oil and gas developments.(3) 

Photo credit: Lauren Waterman

Lauren MacDonald, a climate activist with the Stop Cambo campaign said:
“Jackdaw will not lower bills, it will not provide energy security, and it will push us further towards an unlivable climate. And for what? So Shell can carry on ripping us off.

“People in the UK want energy that is affordable and doesn’t put our climate and our future at risk, which means scaling up renewable energy now, insulating millions of leaky homes and immediately stopping the expansion of oil and gas production. 

“This government needs to go away and come up with a better energy plan, one that benefits the public and not just Shell.” 

Caroline Rance, Friends of the Earth Scotland Climate and Energy Campaigner said: 

“Opening up the Jackdaw gas field would be a reckless move that would further lock the UK into a broken energy system which is driving up energy bills and accelerating the climate crisis.

“Whilst today's protest is aimed at the UK Government, the First Minister must speak out against the Jackdaw field as she so rightly did on the controversial Cambo field. 

“Every new fossil fuel project the UK Government supports takes us further away from a fair and fast transition for workers and communities currently reliant on the oil and gas sector.”

Notes to editors

(1): Shell’s plans for Jackdaw have already been rejected by the regulator because of its potential impact on the climate: Jackdaw’s gas is particularly polluting because it has an unusually high CO2 content. Shell was told by the regulator in October last year to come up with a different plan, one that aligned with the UK's climate targets and the oil and gas industry’s own, albeit very weak commitments on reducing emissions. Shell has ignored the regulator’s demand and in February this year submitted essentially the same proposal with only very minor changes. Shell is explicit that this plan is the one that makes the most commercial sense for Shell.

(2): Summary of the Jackdaw Field Development, including Shell’s Environmental Statement, on the BEIS website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jackdaw-field-development 

(3) The UK government’s new Energy Security Strategy includes a commitment to launch another licensing round in the autumn, as well as a pledge to ‘reduce the emissions of our offshore oil and gas further… to ensure our gas remains the low-carbon choice’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/british-energy-security-strategy/british-energy-security-strategy#oil-and-gas 

Stop Cambo continues to campaign against plans to open the huge Cambo oil field, West of Shetland. The project was paused in December last year when Shell, which owns a 30% stake in Cambo, said the economic case for investment in Cambo was “not strong enough”. Last week, Cambo operator Siccar Point Energy was acquired by Ithaca Energy: www.stopcambo.org.uk

Stop Cambo is coordinated by Uplift, a not-for-profit initiative with a mission to support and energise the movement for a just and fossil fuel-free UK. It resources, connects, and elevates ideas and voices to support a just transition away from fossil fuel production. upliftuk.org