Oil and gas group Shell has received approval for the development of the Jackdaw natural gas field in the British part of the North Sea. That happened eight months after the British regulator had blocked the project for environmental reasons.
The fact that Shell is now receiving approval marks a change in government policy compared to last year. At the time, the prospects for the UK oil and gas industry were dim as the UK government focused on organizing the COP 26 climate talks. But with energy prices skyrocketing as a result of the war in Ukraine, the British are looking for ways to maintain domestic oil and gas supplies.
In a new environmental statement filed in March, Shell says it will reduce venting and alter other processes at Jackdaw, reducing the number of emissions from the project. The UK regulator approved the project in a letter at the end of May, noting that the job “will have no significant impact on the environment”.
The number of new oil and gas projects in the British North Sea has decreased in recent years. This is mainly because investors have urged the industry to cut spending. In addition, environmentalists have been pushing to tackle climate change. According to Greenpeace, Jackdaw’s approval is a “desperate and destructive decision” by the British government, as well as proof that there is no long-term plan.