Environmental campaigners have reacted with fury to plans to open a large new oil field containing 800 million barrels of oil. Siccar Point Energy and oil giant Shell are seeking permission from the UK Government to develop the Cambo oil field, West of Shetland, despite the damage fossil fuels are doing to our climate.

UK ministers must now decide whether to approve or reject the devastating plans, which come just months before they are due to host the crucial UN climate conference in Glasgow.

The Scottish Government has, as yet, made no objections to the project which aims to keep producing oil until 2050, five years after the date by which Scotland has committed to reach net-zero emissions.

Key facts:

  • The Cambo field contains over 800 million barrels of oil
  • The climate impact from producing and burning all 800million barrels would be equivalent to 10 x Scotland’s annual emissions
  • If approved, Cambo would be producing oil and gas until 2050
  • It is 70% owned by Siccar Point Energy & 30% Shell
  • The Cambo Field is located 125 km north-west of the Shetland Islands

The International Energy Agency recently said that no new oil and gas fields should be developed, if we are to limit global warming to 1.5C.  But both the UK and Scottish Government’s official policy is to maximise recovery of oil and gas – despite being in direct contradiction to their efforts to reduce fossil fuel use.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Climate Campaigner Caroline Rance commented:

“Burning fossil fuels is the key driver of climate breakdown and every extra barrel of oil and gas produced speeds us closer to greater devastation.

“The climate impact from producing and burning the oil and gas from the Cambo field alone is equivalent to ten times Scotland’s annual emissions. It would be completely indefensible for the UK Government to approve this development, and would further damage the UK’s credibility on climate action ahead of the UN climate conference COP26 later this year.

“Both the UK and Scottish Governments must end their hypocritical support for drilling for every last drop of climate-wrecking oil and gas, and instead develop a clear plan for winding down fossil fuel extraction while building up support for retraining workers and supporting communities. That has to start with saying no to Cambo.”

“The UK’s drilling plans in already operating oil and gas fields will far exceed the UK’s share under the Paris climate goals – further extraction will blast through safe climate limits.

“A managed phase out of oil and gas is necessary to protect people who work in this industry, their communities and the climate. This means no new oil and gas licences and a plan for a rapid and fair transition away from fossil fuels.”

“It is an obscenity that these plans are being progressed just months before the UN climate talks are due to take place in Glasgow.”

Rachel Kennerley, international climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland said:

“Continuing to allow the north sea to be drained of oil and gas would be yet another hammer blow to the UK government’s international leadership ambitions ahead of this year’s crucial summit.

“Ministers must ensure a fair transition for workers and communities reliant on these industries as part of a strategy to rapidly shift to clean energy from the sun, wind and tides.

“If ministers are serious about facing up to the climate crisis they must end their support for climate wrecking fossil fuels at home and abroad.”


Cambo Field details https://www.siccarpointenergy.co.uk/our-portfolio/corona-ridge-area 

The Cambo Field holds approx. 800m barrels of oil. An average UK barrel of Forties blend is 517kg CO2e. The suggest the field would be responsible for 413.6MtCO2e.

Scotland’s total domestic emissions in 2018 were 41.6 MtCO2e

If Cambo Field hits its 51,000 boe/day target, it would be the fifth biggest producer on the UK Continental Shelf based on current production levels. Siccar Point has regularly referred to it as one of “the largest undeveloped fields on the UK Continental Shelf.

‘No new oil & gas’ to meet climate commitments, says IEA report (May 2021) https://www.iea.org/news/pathway-to-critical-and-formidable-goal-of-net-zero-emissions-by-2050-is-narrow-but-brings-huge-benefits  

This story was on the front page of The Times on Wednesday 23 June 2021

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.