February 21, 2023

Over 200 orgs sign #StopRosebank open letter to Rishi Sunak and Grant Shapps

#StopRosebank Open Letter to Rishi Sunak and Grant Shapps

Dear Prime Minister and Secretary of State,

In the face of the climate and energy price crisis, we are calling on you to reconsider the UK government's position on North Sea oil and gas extraction and reject the development of the Rosebank oil field which is seeking to be developed by the Norwegian firm Equinor.

The case for moving past oil and gas extraction has never been clearer. The war in Ukraine has resulted in gas prices reaching unimaginable highs. In the UK our reliance on gas for heating our poorly insulated homes and generating power has left families and British businesses even more vulnerable to escalating costs than our European neighbours.

However, granting new licences and approving new fields like Rosebank will not help support energy security, they will make the UK more dependent on expensive, high carbon gas for decades longer than necessary. Rosebank is 90% oil, most likely to be exported and will not lower energy costs in the UK.

As the UK seeks to secure its international climate commitments, and realise its ambition of protecting 30% of marine habitats by 2030, we urge you to consider the climate and nature impacts of Rosebank. As the largest undeveloped oil field in the UK, the emissions from burning the oil and gas in Rosebank would be equal to the combined annual CO2 emissions of the 28 lowest-income countries in the world. Further, Rosebank would cut through a Marine Protected Area, known for its delicate habitats.

If approved, Rosebank will be developed by Equinor, which is majority-owned by the Norwegian government. The UK public, however, would carry almost all the costs of developing Rosebank, its owners will receive over £500 million through the Investment Allowance subsidy to develop the field. In the long run, the transition away from fossil fuels risks leaving Rosebank a stranded asset.

With renewables currently many times cheaper than gas, every new field, every Rosebank, delays the transition to a more affordable renewable energy system. Done properly, with the right support and investment, there could be three jobs in clean energy for every oil and gas job at risk. With gas prices expected to remain high for potentially years to come, we urge you to instead invest in the quickest and safest ways to strengthen energy security and lower bills, not through further extraction of oil and gas, but greater energy efficiency and cheap home grown renewables.

Yours sincerely,

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