Greenpeace to oppose UK approval of Shell gas field in court

LONDON (Reuters) – Climate campaigners from Greenpeace plan to take legal action against the British government allowing Shell to develop the Jackdaw North Sea gas field, after a similar case against a BP field was initially dismissed by a court .

The future of oil and gas fields such as Jackdaw has become a lightning rod for climate campaigners who are increasingly taking to the courts to challenge lawmakers on their promises to turn Britain into a zero economy net carbon by 2050.

The government says Britain, whose oil and gas reserves are exploited by companies such as Shell rather than a national oil company, needs to boost declining domestic production to bolster energy security.

Shell made a final investment decision on Monday to develop Jackdaw, which is due to come on stream in the mid-2020s and could supply 6% of gas production in the UK.

Authorities initially rejected Shell’s plans on environmental grounds, but gave the green light after Shell changed how the project would deal with operational emissions.

Greenpeace says the government is wrong to consider only operational emissions when granting permission to extract fossil fuels.

He argues that the planet-warming gases that are produced from burning fuels, usually a much larger amount than operational emissions, should also be factored into any decision.

“Meanwhile, household bills are skyrocketing and the government is ignoring common sense solutions – like home insulation, heat pumps and cheap renewable energy,” Greenpeace said.

A similar case brought by Greenpeace over BP’s Vorlich oilfield was initially dismissed in a Scottish court, but Greenpeace has said it wants to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“We are aware of Greenpeace’s legal challenge against the UK regulator over the Jackdaw consent decision,” a Shell spokesperson said. “The court will decide in due course whether this challenge is allowed to proceed.

“In line with the regulatory approvals granted and the final investment decision taken, we are advancing the project which has the potential to produce over 6% of UK gas production at a time when UK energy security United is indispensable,” the spokesperson added.

(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla, editing by Ed Osmond)