Equinor (OSLO: EQNR) is still on track to approve the Rosebank oilfield in the West of Shetland this year, the UK boss of Equinor has said.
Speaking to Energy Voice at Offshore Europe, Arne Gurtner said the development is “progressing really well and according to plan”.
Rosebank, the largest untapped field in UK waters, has been rumoured for regulator approval for months, with partner Ithaca Energy confirming in June that it was still on OPRED’s desk.
That comes as the major field continues to be a focal point for climate protestors, with the Stop Rosebank campaign fighting to prevent its development.
Mr Gurtner would not comment on where the project currently sits on approvals, but said “our original plan was to make a final investment decision this year, end of this year, and we’re still on track for that”.
Asked about the road to a final investment decision (FID), he said: “There’s still pieces to be figured out and some of the pieces have taken longer than we thought, but it’s a complex project and that’s what we’re used to.”
He added: “To put this into context, it is a big industrial endeavour. It’s a big investment for us, for our partners, and we have to take the appropriate time for the right kind of processes internally and externally and involving the regulators and so forth.
“And when the time is ready we will make the investment decision.”
Rosebank will be electrified in the West of Shetland, along with the nearby Cambo and Clair fields from Ithaca and BP, respectively.
Power from shore is mooted for the development, though Mr Gurtner told an earlier Offshore Europe panel that the Hywind Tampen floating wind development in Norway has also informed their thinking.
He told EV: “We are progressing the West of Shetland electrification as planned, in parallel with the field development of Rosebank.
“It’s a really important part, so we are looking at it from the lens of maximum effort on decarbonisation and really making the Rosebank project stand out as a crown jewel when it comes to future fit oil and gas projects which benchmarks really well in the global portfolio – that is what we want to achieve.”
Projected to produce 300 million barrels of oil, the Rosebank field is due to achieve first production in 2027.
According to the Equinor environmental statement, Rosebank will, on average, emit 165 kilotonnes of CO2 per year – that’s around 1.6% of the annual emissions of the UK offshore sector, compared to North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) figures.
It comes as energy minister Graham Stuart played up the importance of domestic oil and gas projects to the conference on Tuesday.
There is also a review of the current fiscal regime of the industry in the UK, which major operators are making submissions to, following a series of changes in recent years.
A key demand is stability, while operators have also said the windfall tax needs to be removed now that windfall profits no longer exist.
Mr Gurtner said: “The long-term stability is really important. We have seen a lot of tax changes – it was referred to on one of the panels – and no matter what these changes are, they are impacting investibility.
“We see that when we see the investments being brought forward in the sector. What I look forward to from the fiscal review is getting clarity, being really precise on how the long-term fiscal regime is set up, which gives investor confidence and builds trust. That is my one ask.”