UK regulators have given approval for Shell to develop the Jackdaw gas field, which could potentially produce about 6.5% of the UK’s total natural gas production.
Shell, which also makes industrial lubricants like compressor oil, regards the Jackdaw field as a relatively straightforward project due to its proximity to existing infrastructure offshore of Aberdeen, but regulators last year refused permission to install a subsea link to another platform citing unacceptable emissions.
The company appears to have won over regulators with its plans to transition its platforms from being powered by burning natural gas to using renewable energy. It also indicated its desire to capture any emissions at a carbon capture and storage facility in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire that it is helping to plan. Shell has apparently also modified how it will process natural gas before pumping it to the mainland, with a greater proportion of extracted gas making it onshore under the company’s revised plan.
Shell welcomed the decision and said it would now proceed with developing the field. A spokesperson for the company said:
“Responsibly produced, local gas production plays an essential role in the UK’s transition to net zero, will support thousands of jobs, and forms part of Shell UK’s broader intent to invest £20bn to £25bn in the UK, with 75% intended for low and zero-carbon products and services.”
Environmental groups, however, have been more critical of the decision, with Greenpeace saying it is considering taking legal action to dispute whether the approval is lawful.