Rosebank oil field given go-ahead by regulator

Arne Gürtner, senior vice president Upstream at Equinor

THE Rosebank offshore development off Shetland has been granted consent by regulators.

Located 80 miles of west of Shetland, Rosebank is the UK’s largest untapped oil field and is estimated to contain 500 million barrels of oil.

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Development and production consents have been given to owners Equinor and Ithaca Energy, following the acceptance of an environmental statement.

A spokesperson for the oil and gas regulator, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), said: “We have approved the Rosebank Field Development Plan which allows the owners to proceed with their project.”

They added it had been awarded “in accordance with our published guidance and taking net zero considerations into account throughout the project’s lifecycle”.

Ithaca Energy and Equinor have previously said if production started in 2026, then Rosebank could account for 8% of the UK’s total oil production between then and 2030.

According to an independent socioeconomic report by Wood Mackenzie and Voar Energy, Rosebank is estimated to create £8.1 billion of total direct investment over the lifetime of the field, of which 78% is likely to be invested in UK-based businesses. 

It is expected to support around 1,600 jobs during the height of the construction phase of the project, and it will continue to support approx. 450 UK-based jobs during the lifetime of the field.

Russell Borthwick, Chief Executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “Rosebank will make an important contribution to UK and European energy security, create several hundred new jobs here in Scotland and result in over £6billion being spent within the UK supply chain which is anchored in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

“Crucially, while its approval will generate vast economic benefits, it will not increase the UK’s projected emissions.

“Today’s announcement is a welcome shot in arm for the UK energy sector which will give investors, operators and the wider supply chain confidence as they strive to provide the power we need here and now and transition towards a net zero future.” 

Rosebank will contribute to Scotland’s and the UK’s energy security, and will enable the UK to support Europe’s energy security. 

When it starts producing in 2026/7 the gas from the field will be delivered to the UK, and will be enough to power Aberdeen for the lifetime of the field. The oil will be sold on the open market, and the most likely destination for that oil is the continent of Europe. 

At a time when Europe is trying to wean itself off Russian oil and gas, Rosebank will help, Rosebank will be an important contribution to the continent’s energy security, the company said.

Arne Gürtner, senior vice president Upstream at Equinor in the UK, added: “We know that the world needs to transition to new, cleaner energy systems and our broad energy investments into the UK support this. And while we do this there is going to be a continued need for oil and gas, which currently meets 76% of the UK’s energy needs. 

“Our decision to progress the Rosebank development is the result of work and collaboration by our employees, partners, government, regulators, and other stakeholders to ensure that this development is able to help meet this ongoing need, with the lowest carbon footprint possible.”

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