Greenpeace has launched a legal challenge against the UK Government on the Jackdaw field off Aberdeen – one day after Shell (LON: SHEL) took an investment decision on the project.
The government is facing action after it approved the new North Sea gas field, which Greenpeace claims it did without checking the climate damage of burning the gas extracted.
However, a UK Government spokesperson said the project was approved by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) “on the basis of Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) considering the environmental statement of the project and concluding that it will not have a significant effect on the environment.”
Greenpeace is seeking a judicial review of the decision made by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the NSTA on environmental grounds.
In its court papers, the NGO is also proposing to put the court case on hold until the Supreme Court decides whether to hear an appeal over its case against the Ithaca-BP Vorlich field, which Greenpeace lost last year.
London-listed Shell, which gave Jackdaw an investment green light last night, said it is aware of Greenpeace’s legal challenge.
A spokesperson said: “As per the regulatory approvals given and final investment decision taken, we are progressing the project which has the potential to produce more than 6% of UK gas production at a time when UK energy security is critically required.”
According to Greenpeace, the government failed in its legal duty to check the environmental impacts of Shell’s Jackdaw project by refusing to consider the damage caused by burning the gas extracted.
This Jackdaw approval is a scandal
The activist group argues that the gas from this project will do nothing to help the current energy crisis or lower energy bills “because it belongs to Shell, and will be sold on international markets to the highest bidder”.
The oil and gas industry has pointed to the need for domestic supply to provide energy security, and for helping manage a gradual skills transition into renewable energy.
Greenpeace’s legal challenge follows several others NGO cases against the North Sea industry in recent months.
The NGO is pursuing legal action against BP in relation to its permit to extract oil from the Vorlich field. After losing an initial bid, it is hoping to secure a Supreme Court appeal.
Elsewhere the Paid to Pollute group lost a case against the regulator (formerly the OGA, now called the NSTA) over its backing for the industry.
Oil and gas transition campaigner for Greenpeace UK Philip Evans said: “This Jackdaw approval is a scandal. The government knows that burning fossil fuels drives the climate crisis, yet they’re approving a new gas field in June, without proper climate checks, and declaring a national emergency over heatwaves in July.
“Meanwhile household bills are soaring, and the government is ignoring common sense solutions – like home insulation, heat pumps and cheap renewable power.
“We believe this is an astonishing dereliction of the government’s legal duty, and we won’t let it stand.
“So we’re taking legal action to stop Jackdaw, and whenever we see the government acting unlawfully to greenlight new fossil fuels we stand ready to fight in the courts.”