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Shell may reconsider Shetland oil field pullout

Oil and energy major Shell is re-evaluating its decision to pull out of the Cambo offshore oil field 75 miles west of the Shetland Islands, according to the BBC, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Shell’s initial decision to pull out of the project was made last year when oil prices were around $70 per barrel, with the company citing possible regulatory delays and economic reasons. Since then, oil prices have briefly touched around twice that value, and recent events in Ukraine have highlighted the consequences of Europe relying heavily on Russian oil and gas exports for its energy needs.

The company’s official position has not changed, but it has not yet divested its interests in the field. The BBC’s sources also convey that the company realises that the political, economic, and regulatory landscape has drastically changed over the past three months.

Environmental group Uplift’s director, Tessa Khan, argued that developing new hydrocarbon projects like Cambo would do little for energy security in the UK, however, adding:

“What it will do is produce carbon emissions equivalent to 18 coal-fired power stations, when we are already experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis. Cambo makes as little sense today as it did last year.”

Shell, which is committed to becoming a net-zero emissions business by 2050 and offers a range of carbon-neutral lubricant products, has previously suggested that demand for oil and gas needs to be addressed rather than supply, pointing out that this demand will simply be met by hydrocarbons produced by other companies elsewhere in the world.

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