Greenpeace on Tuesday launched legal action against the UK government, alleging it has allowed Shell to develop a North Sea gas field without assessing a certain impact on the climate.
The environmental group said approval in June of the Jackdaw field off the Scottish coast was granted without considering damage caused by the burning of the gas extracted.
“We believe this is an astonishing dereliction of the government’s legal duty, and we won’t let it stand,” Philip Evans, oil and gas transition campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said in a statement.
Citing the findings of an offshore energy regulator, the government Tuesday insisted that the project “will not have a significant effect on the environment”.
Work is due to start in the third quarter of this year, with first supplies expected to come on stream in mid-2024.
The British government, while seeking to make the UK a net zero carbon emitter by 2050, is also wishing to boost fossil fuel supplies as the invasion of Ukraine by major oil and gas producer Russia cuts output and boosts prices.
Greenpeace on Tuesday claimed that Jackdaw gas would not ease a “UK energy crisis, or have any effect on energy bills because it belongs to Shell, and will be sold on international markets to the highest bidder”.
It added that the gas, when burnt, was set to generate more CO2 than the annual emissions of Ghana.
In a separate statement, British energy giant Shell said the Jackdaw project was progressing and “has the potential to produce more than six percent of UK gas production at a time when UK energy security is critically required”.