Climate activists have been protesting today (14/5/24) outside the Aberdeen HQ of Norwegian oil giant Equinor as part of a wave of protests coinciding with the company’s AGM in Norway.

The activists, bearing the message ‘Scotland will be fossil free’, were demonstrating against Equinor’s role in plans to build a new gas burning power station at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire and to develop the huge Rosebank oil field.

Equinor is part of the plan to construct an additional gas burning power station in Peterhead, next to the existing plant which has been Scotland’s biggest polluter for the last 5 years. The plan will increase emissions and burn gas far beyond Scotland’s net zero target date of 2045.

A new fossil fuel power station will chain household energy bills to volatile global gas markets for decades to come, worsening both the climate and cost of living crises. Equinor supplies 27% of UK gas making it the country’s largest supplier and has £90billion in profits in the last 2 years, while millions of people have been forced into fuel poverty by volatile oil and gas prices.

The company holds an 80% stake in the controversial Rosebank oil field, which was given UK Government approval in September 2023 but has been met with fierce opposition from climate activists, scientists and politicians.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Oil and Gas Campaigner Freya Aitchison said:

“It’s abundantly clear that Equinor has no interest whatsoever in a transition away from fossil fuels. They are currently seeking planning permission from the Scottish Government to build a huge new gas burning power station in Aberdeenshire. This disastrous plan would keep Scottish households locked into high energy bills, and see Equinor’s shareholders and the Norwegian Government continue to make obscene profits off the back of a cost-of-living crisis that has forced millions into fuel poverty.

“The Scottish and UK Governments should reject Equinor’s fossil fuel expansion plan and instead invest in a fast and fair transition to renewable energy, with workers and communities’ needs at its heart. This will bring down energy bills, create green jobs and help us live up to our climate commitments.”

“We stand in solidarity with our friends across the world who are resisting Equinor’s dirty fossil fuel projects in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Tanzania and Norway. People are more powerful than the greed of the fossil fuel industry.”

Over the weekend, protests have taken place in Shetland (the closest land to the Rosebank site) and at the Norwegian embassy in London, as well as outside Equinor HQ in Oslo. Activists from Canada, Argentina and the UK have also travelled to Norway to take part in the AGM protests.

Natalia Kennerley, a young activist from Shetland who is currently studying in Aberdeen, has travelled to Norway to take part in the AGM. She said:

“As a marine biology student, I know how vulnerable the seabed is where Equinor is planning the Rosebank field. Equinor are choosing to prioritize their own profit over the importance of the many species that live there.

“Science says that we cannot start new oil projects if we are to achieve our climate goals, but Equinor is sacrificing marine life to do just that.

“By developing the Rosebank oil field, Equinor is endangering human life, wildlife and our future on this planet. The science is clear that no new oil fields can be built if we want to meet our climate targets but Equinor are choosing to ignore this and continue with Rosebank anyway. Rosebank must be stopped.”

Activist shareholders will be bringing resolutions to the AGM to try and bring Equinor’s activities in line with what climate science demands but the board is expected to vote down every single one.

Protestors at Equinor’s Aberdeen office brought messages for the company from people all over Scotland, and stuck them on post-it notes on the office windows. Messages included:

“You’re stealing my future knowing the ham you will cause”
“Our planet is priceless, your activities are reckless”
“Leave oil in the ground – planet not profit!”


Link to photos from the protest https://flickr.com/photos/friendsoftheearthscotland/albums/72177720316963261/

About the Peterhead gas burning power station
SSE and Equinor have submitted a planning application for a new gas burning power station with carbon capture plant at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. The application is for an additional plant alongside the existing Peterhead gas burning power station, which is already Scotland’s single biggest polluters.

The development poses a significant risk to Scotland’s legally enshrined climate and emission reduction targets and to a just transition for workers and communities. The Scottish Government will make the decision whether to approve this project and lock households into reliance on fossil fuels for energy for the next 25 years.

About the Rosebank oil field

The Rosebank oil and gas field is located in the North Sea, 130 kilometres off the coast of the Shetland Islands. It is the UK’s largest undeveloped oil field, containing an estimated 500 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Burning Rosebank’s oil and gas would produce over 200 million tonnes of CO2. These emissions are equal to more than the annual CO2 emissions of all 28 countries categorised as low-income by the World Bank combined. The field would be developed by Equinor, which holds an 80% stake, and Ithaca Energy, which holds a 20% stake.
Campaign group Uplift has launched a legal challenge against the UK Government for their approval of the rosebank oil field, which will be heard later this year.

About Equinor

Equinor is a Norwegian state-owned oil and gas company that is pursuing the expansion of oil and gas across the globe. Rosebank is just one of the fields that the company seeks to open. Equinor is 67% owned by the Norwegian government, making it the majority shareholder.

Equinor profits in 2023 £29billion before tax

Equinor profits in 2022 £62billion before tax

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.