Meanwhile, at the Royal Courts of Justice, campaigners celebrated a High Court ruling that granted charity Greenpeace permission to proceed with a judicial review of new oil and gas licensing in the North Sea.
The UK’s Secretary of State for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero, Grant Shapps, has reassured Britain’s oil and gas industry that it has his full support to continue North Sea drilling during a keynote speech given at the Spectator’s Energy Summit on Wednesday.
At the event, which was sponsored by National Gas as well as Drax, Shapps told an audience mostly composed of energy sector professionals that it “simply makes no sense whatsoever to deny our own oil and gas, and instead import it – with twice the embedded carbon – from elsewhere in the world”. He added that it is “very important” to understand that even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognises the need for “some” oil and gas production in 2050 when the UK has reached net zero.
Meanwhile, just one mile down the road at the Royal Courts of Justice, campaigners celebrated a High Court ruling that granted charity Greenpeace permission to proceed with a judicial review of the government’s decision to launch a new oil and gas licensing round in the North Sea.
On Wednesday morning, the judge gave Greenpeace permission to conduct a full judicial review into the government’s failure to take into account the environmental effects of consuming the oil and gas due to be extracted in the new licensing round, in which fossil fuel companies submitted more than 100 licences for exploration.
“See you in court” one campaigner wrote on Twitter tagging Shapps, who was in the process of assuring his audience that the government “will not shy away from awarding new licences where they are justified”. The fate of the controversial Rosebank oil field, with the potential to produce 500m barrels of oil and therefore exceed the UK’s carbon budget, remains undecided.