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by Kirsteen Paterson
31 July 2023
Rishi Sunak to announce North Sea carbon capture scheme - and 100 oil and gas licences

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak to announce North Sea carbon capture scheme - and 100 oil and gas licences

At least 100 new North Sea oil and gas licences are to be granted in a move Downing Street says will "boost British energy independence".

The move comes along with the announcement that North East Scotland and the Humber in England have been selected for two new carbon capture and storage projects to create a "thriving clean industry in the North Sea".

The Acorn Project at St Fergus in Aberdeenshire will be the first of its kind in Scotland and will be a joint venture between Shell and other operators.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be in Scotland today to announce millions of pounds in funding for the scheme.

He will use the visit to highlight the "central role" for Scotland in "defending the UK against disrupted energy supplies" and meeting net zero targets.

Sunak said: "We have all witnessed how Putin has manipulated and weaponised energy, disrupting supply and stalling growth in countries around the world.

"Even when we've reached net zero in 2050, a quarter of our energy needs will come from oil and gas.

"But there are those who would rather that it come from hostile states than from the supplies we have here at home.

"We're choosing to power up Britain from Britain and invest in crucial industries such as carbon capture and storage, rather than depend on more carbon-intensive gas imports from overseas - which will support thousands of skilled jobs, unlock further opportunities for green technologies and grow the economy."

The announcement comes days after Greta Thunberg and other climate activists held a protest in London over potential North Sea drilling at the Rosebank field. Thunberg said: "How can the British Government even consider pressing ahead with new drilling when we can see what the burning of fossil fuels is doing to the climate and to people?"

Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell described the granting of new licences as "utterly reckless".

He said: “It is probably the single most consequential decision Rishi Sunak will make as prime minister and he has chosen the worst possible option.

“It shows a total disregard for our environment and for future generations. If these licences go ahead it will be a big leap towards climate chaos.”


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