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by Jack Thomson
16 August 2021
Scotland Office minister 'eager to learn more' about proposed Cambo oilfield

The controversial Cambo oilfield plans have attracted opposition (Picture: Iain Masterton/Alamy)

Scotland Office minister 'eager to learn more' about proposed Cambo oilfield

The Scotland Office minister is set to meet the developers of the proposed Cambo oilfield on Tuesday.

David Duguid will hold talks with Siccar Point Energy in Aberdeen to discuss the controversial site off the coast of Shetland. 

An exploration licence for the field was granted in 2001 and the Oil and Gas Authority is considering whether to approve extraction of more than 800 million barrels of oil there.

The UK Government came under pressure to stop further expansion of the site, as a damning report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) detailing the "unequivocal" human influence on global warming was published. 

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the report "must sound a death knell" for fossil fuels, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and asked him to "reassess" the development.

However, Duguid said it was “far preferable” for oil and gas to come from domestic sources rather than relying on imports.

He said: “I’m eager to learn more about the proposed Cambo field. As we transition to cleaner, low-carbon and renewable energy, demand for oil and gas is declining and will continue to do so, even with new fields such as Cambo. But until that transition is made, as the UK Government is pioneering with the North Sea Transition Deal, sources like Cambo are still required.

“The Independent Climate Change Committee advises that we will continue to need oil and gas in the coming years as it is still vital to the production of many everyday essentials, including medicines.

“It is far preferable for the UK’s needs to come from our domestic supply, supporting our own workers, rather than relying on imports whose sources may not be responsibly recovered.

“Not producing our own oil and gas through the energy transition not only risks the economy and jobs but also security of energy supply.

“Working with the UK Government, industry is committed to responsibly managing supply through the energy transition - while developing technology, innovation and expertise that will be critical to Net Zero and fighting climate change in line with our aims at COP26 in Glasgow in November.”

Last week, a former chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) told Holyrood the proposal for the Cambo oilfield should not be allowed to go ahead.

In a wide-ranging interview for the Politically Speaking podcast, Professor James Curran, ex-SEPA chief and UK government reviewer of IPCC reports, said his own conclusion was "no, we cannot allow the Cambo oilfield to go ahead".

He said evidence on the role of fossil fuels in climate change needs to be taken "very, very seriously".

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