Climate activists have responded with outrage to the announcement that Norwegian state-owned oil company Equinor posted £62billion in profits in 2022. Protests will take place outside the Equinor offices in Aberdeen from 12-2pm today (8/2/23).

Photos from the protest will be shared via: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/15qS4mfuSM7LosR_IgD8p0M2Qjr5iw4c4?usp=share_link

Campaigners described the figures – larger than Shell and BP’s profits combined – as ‘a slap in the face’ for the millions of households that have been pushed into fuel poverty due to rising energy bills. The CEO of Equinor recently said that consumers should expect energy bills to stay high for years to come.

Equinor is currently waiting on the UK Government to approve development of the controversial Rosebank oil field, which is 80 miles to the west of Shetland and the largest undeveloped oil field in UK waters. If all the oil and gas contained in this single field is burned, it would produce more CO2 than the annual emissions of the world’s 28 lowest income countries combined.

Despite these ‘obscene’ profits and the clear need to reduce fossil fuel production, Equinor is in line to receive £500 million in tax breaks from the UK Government for developing the Rosebank field. The deliberate loophole in the windfall tax gives energy companies a 91% tax relief for new oil and gas investments.

The Aberdeen protest included people from the Stop Rosebank campaign and Extinction Rebellion Aberdeen who were demanding Equinor halt their plans to develop the Rosebank oil field. A vigil was held outside the Norwegian embassy in London last night ( 7/2/23).

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s oil and gas campaigner Freya Aitchison said:

“The fact that Equinor and other fossil fuel companies made such obscene profits is a real slap in the face for the millions of people who are struggling to pay their energy bills and keep their homes warm this winter. On top of this, the UK Government is incentivising Equinor to drill for more oil and gas in the Rosebank field by giving them a £500 million tax break.

“Climate science is clear that to limit further dangerous climate breakdown, there must be no new investment in oil and gas extraction. Any oil produced from Rosebank will belong to Equinor who can sell it on the international market to the highest bidder. 80% of the oil extracted in the North Sea is exported and independent research has shown that it will not bring down energy bills.

Lee Matthews, a member of Extinction Rebellion Aberdeen, said:

“People are really angry about this and they’re showing it by turning out outside Equinor’s offices here in Aberdeen. We want Equinor to know that we won’t accept their plans to develop the Rosebank oil field, or any of the other new fossil fuel projects they’re planning across the world.

“Workers and communities need a just transition to affordable renewable energy, and for that to happen we need to stop investing in new fossil fuels now. The tide is already turning against the oil and gas industry thanks to people power, and we won’t stop until fossil fuels are a thing of the past.”

Free to use images of the protests in Aberdeen will be available at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/15qS4mfuSM7LosR_IgD8p0M2Qjr5iw4c4?usp=share_link

Equinor 2022 profits https://www.equinor.com/news/equinor-fourth-quarter-2022-and-year-end-results

Energy boss warns higher bills are here to stay (16/1/23) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-64270157

Uplift Rosebank briefing: https://www.stopcambo.org.uk/updates/what-is-the-rosebank-oil-field

91% tax break in the Energy Profits Levy aka Windfall Tax. https://www.stopcambo.org.uk/updates/the-catastrophic-consequences-of-the-chancellors-energy-levy-loophole

The International Energy Agency has said that there should be no new oil and gas projects if the world is to stay with 1.5C or warming. https://foe.scot/press-release/no-new-oil-gas-to-meet-climate-commitments-says-iea-report/

Climate Change Committee: new oil and gas development will not bring down energy bills: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/letter-climate-compatibility-of-new-oil-and-gas-fields/

Details of Norwegian embassy vigil https://twitter.com/StopCambo/status/1623078995079352322?s=20&t=iS–AmIM875BULyJi919Vw

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.