A group of protestors have delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street urging the government to block the Shell (LON: SHEL) Jackdaw project.
Campaigners claim developing the North Sea gas field will do nothing to help bring down domestic energy bills, as Ofgem prepares to unveil the next energy price cap tomorrow.
Due to come into force from October 1, experts are predicting the limit on energy bills will hit close to £3,600 a year.
It is feared the rise will push millions of households into fuel poverty.
Signed by over 60,000 people, the petition has also received backing from groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Stop Cambo.
It forms part of a week of action against Jackdaw, with activists lobbying MPs, running street stalls and attending protests.
Hope Jackdaw will ease energy woes
Europe remains in the midst of an energy shortage, and the UK Government is trying to boost North Sea production to ease demand pressure.
It is a policy that has been backed by both Conservative leadership candidates too.
Shell gave the investment green light to Jackdaw, located about 155 miles east of Aberdeen, last month.
Expected on stream in 2025, the field will be a tie back to the Shearwater hub and could yield 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day at peak production.
It is hoped that Jackdaw, alongside other new developments like Equinor’s Rosebank, will help to lower energy bills in the end, while also permanently replacing Russian imports.
Field will ‘do nothing’, says activists
Environmentalists believe that such oil and gas schemes will “do nothing” to ease the crisis because prices are set internationally.
Instead, they want to accelerate the development of renewable energy sources.
A Stop Jackdaw group, born from the Stop Cambo movement, was launched earlier this year to oppose the development of the field.
Freya Aitchison, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “People across the UK are rightly speaking out and taking action to oppose new oil and gas extraction because of its devastating climate consequences.
“The UK Government must take notice and reverse their reckless decision to approve Jackdaw amidst this escalating climate crisis.
“It’s time for the UK Government to put a stop to new fossil fuel developments, and instead deliver a just and rapid transition to an energy system powered by affordable, reliable renewables.”
Investment allowance anger
Campaign groups are also angry over the UK Government’s decision to wrap up tax incentives in the energy profits levy.
Designed to increase spend on North Sea projects, helping to boost energy security, the investment allowance means firms can claim back around 90p for every £1 spent.
But activists claim the relief means the public will end up covering 90% of the cost of developing Jackdaw, meaning they will “effectively be paying twice” for the field’s gas.
Raeeka Yassaie from Stop Cambo, said: “It makes absolutely no sense to be spending taxpayers’ money to develop this new gas field, when the energy we get from it is out of our price range and significantly more expensive than the alternative, which is renewable energy.
“The government needs to see sense and change course. It needs to stand up to the oil and gas giants for the sake of bill payers, taxpayers and the climate.
“Approving Jackdaw only benefits Shell, while saddling the people of the UK with just a tiny bit more gas that we can’t afford. We need more affordable energy, which anyone can see is now renewables.”
Philip Evans, oil and gas transition campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “Gas is now a staggering nine times more expensive than renewables, and we know it wrecks the planet. So it’s absolutely unfathomable that the government is so fixated on gas, when what’s needed for households and for the climate are genuine solutions.
“If the government keeps approving new fossil fuel projects like Jackdaw it should ready itself for a struggle every step of the way, from the protests we’ve seen this week to the courtroom. “The government must stop Jackdaw and instead tackle energy waste from draughty homes and give us cheap, clean power.”