Shell (LON: SHEL) has played down the chances of Jackdaw being hampered by a legal challenge from the environmental group Greenpeace.
In its annual report, released on Thursday, the London-listed oil giant said “there is a relatively low risk of disruption” to the North Sea gas project.
That is both “in terms of delays” to Jackdaw, as well as changes to the scheme itself, and Shell still expects it to go live in the mid-2020s.
Greenpeace’s application for a judicial review of the UK Government’s decision to approve Jackdaw is currently on hold.
According to Shell, the environmental group requested to pause the action, “pending the decision by the UK Supreme Court on another case which concerns similar legal issues”.
The case referenced is a challenge against Surrey County Council over planning permission for the extension of an onshore oil well site.
Philip Evans, oil and gas campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “Greenpeace is taking the Government to court for approving Jackdaw without assessing the impact it would have on the climate once the gas from the field is burnt. The Government knows very well that more than 80% of the emissions produced happen at this stage, and they know it’s disastrous for the climate.
“They also know Jackdaw will do nothing to help the UK tackle the energy crisis because Shell will sell the gas to the highest bidder on the international market. Instead, the Government should focus on cheap, homegrown renewables to make sure we have reliable access to affordable energy.
“Make no mistake, Greenpeace stands ready to take the Government to court any time it unlawfully approves new fossil fuel projects.”
Jackdaw rose from the ashes
The UK’s Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment (OPRED) green lit Jackdaw in June after a period of back and forth between Shell and the regulator.
OPRED knocked back the project’s environmental statement in October 2021, leaving the future of the scheme, located about 155 miles east of Aberdeen, in the lurch.
But a renewed focus on energy security gave it fresh impetus, and it was subsequently approved, with Shell taking a final investment decision on the field a few weeks later.
Jackdaw will comprise a wellhead platform, along with subsea infrastructure which will tie back to the existing Shearwater production hub.
At peak production rates, Jackdaw is estimated to yield 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and could account for over 6% of projected UK North Sea gas production.
Shell is on record as saying it will spend £500 million in the UK in order to deliver the project, estimated for start-up in 2025.
But one day after the oil giant took the investment plunge, Greenpeace launched a legal bid against the UK Government’s decision to rubber stamp the field.
The group claims OPRED did so without checking the climate damage of burning the gas extracted, something the department has disputed.
Greenpeace is seeking a judicial review of the decision made by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the North Sea Transition Authority on environmental grounds.