A group of 40 European Union lawmakers have called on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to scrap plans to develop the Rosebank oil and gas field ahead of an energy summit next week.
Members of the European Parliament, led by Michael Bloss from the Green party, said in a letter seen by Bloomberg that development of the project operated by Equinor ASA threatens globally agreed climate targets.
“It is evident that the exploration and development of new oil and gas fields is incompatible with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said the letter, signed by a cross-group selection of MEPs and sent to Sunak. “Rejecting the proposed Rosebank oil field would be a step in the right direction.”
Nine countries, including the UK, France and Germany — as well as the European Commission — are due to meet in the Belgian port city of Ostend on April 24 for the North Sea Summit. The development of the UK’s largest untapped oil field and its impact on the climate threatens to overshadow the event that aims to showcase cooperation with the EU in the wake of Brexit.
The EU lawmakers said that the burning of its extracted oil and gas would generate CO2 emissions equivalent to those produced annually by the 28 lowest-income nations combined.
“No decision has yet been made regarding the proposed Rosebank field,” a spokesperson for the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, said in a statement. “Development proposals for oil fields under existing licenses are a matter for the regulators, who consider the impact on the environment when making their judgment.”
Equinor is seeking a final investment decision on the project, located west of Scotland’s Shetland Islands, before the end of June. It’s not set to begin pumping oil and gas until at least 2026. Daily production of 70,000 barrels of oil and 21 million cubic feet of gas, planned for 2027, would make it one of the largest fields in the UK.