The UK Government has approved the Rosebank oil field. But the fight doesn’t end here. 

After over a year of delays and back and forth, in late September the UK Government gave the green light to Rosebank, the biggest undeveloped oil field in the North Sea.  

By giving Rosebank the go-ahead, the UK Government is denying the reality of the climate crisis that is having devastating impacts across the world. 

Rosebank is a terrible decision for the climate 

This reckless decision flies in the face of all available climate science which says that to have any chance of remaining within safe climate limits, we must not extract any new oil or gas. Over 700 scientists wrote to the UK Government to tell them this in March. 

Campaigners march through Edinburgh to demand a fair and fast transition away from fossil fuels as part of a Global Day of Action. Credit: Neil Hanna

The Rosebank oil field would still be extracting oil and gas in 2051, well beyond the date at which Scotland and the UK has pledged to be ‘net zero’.  Over its lifetime this single field would produce the equivalent climate pollution to the combined annual emissions of the world’s 28 lowest-income countries. 

Rosebank is a terrible decision for the public purse 

What is also shocking is that the UK Government is making the public subsidise 91% of the costs of developing Rosebank, handing Equinor – the company behind the field – £2.8 billion through a deliberate loophole in its windfall tax.  

women in front of Stop Rosebank rose wall
Climate activists demonstrating against the Rosebank oil field outside UK Government building as part of the COP27 March in Edinburgh Credit: Colin Hattersley / FoES

The windfall tax was supposed to help households pay their energy bills this winter, but instead it is further lining the pockets of Equinor’s bosses and shareholders, who had already made over £60 billion in profits before tax last year. With £2.8 billion, the UK Government could instead have fitted insulation and clean heating systems in every house in the North East of Scotland. 

The opposition to Rosebank will continue 

The fact that it has taken so long for the government to make a decision on Rosebank is testament to the huge amount of public and political opposition to the field over the past months.  

130,000 people signed a petition calling for the UK Government to reject Rosebank, over 200 organisations published an open letter opposing the field, and thousands of letters and emails have been written to politicians, resulting in Rosebank being repeatedly challenged in the Scottish, UK and Norwegian parliaments.  

protestors gather outside UK Government building
People gather outside UK Government building in Edinburgh to protest approval of the Rosebank oil field. Credit: Oliver Goulden
Stop Rosebank demonstration after the approval

On top of this, dozens of protests all over the UK, from Shetland to the south of England, have demonstrated the breadth of public opposition to the field’s development. In the days after the decision from the UK Government to approve Rosebank, thousands of people took to the streets across the country, including in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow.

How you can involved in the fight to stop Rosebank 

And the fight doesn’t end here. 

The response from the campaign to stop Rosebank has been incredible. Already, our friends at the research and advocacy organisation Uplift have announced that they will take the UK Government to court over their decision to approve Rosebank.  

A petition has been launched calling on the Norwegian Government (majority owners of Equinor) to speak out against Rosebank, and plans to ramp up public pressure on Equinor itself are well underway.  

Equinor is already under fire in the Norwegian press and from its own funders, who wrote to the Norwegian Government expressing concerns that Equinor isn’t doing enough to cut emissions.  

Equinor is highly vulnerable to public opinion and has been known to pull out of unpopular projects in the past. We can and will force them to pull the plug on Rosebank too. 

But to do this we need everyone on board.  

Write to your MSP to ask them to publicly reject the UK Government’s decision and sign Monica Lennon MSP’s motion which calls on the regulator to reverse its decision.  

Sign the petition to call on the Norwegian Government to oppose Rosebank. 

Join the campaign! Come along to a welcome call to meet others and hear about how you can get involved. You can find details of the next welcome call on the Stop Rosebank website