The Scottish Daily Mail reported Fergus Mutch, former head of communications for the SNP, questioning the First Minister’s stance, saying that her opposition to the oil field “doesn’t make a lot of sense".
Earlier this week Ms Sturgeon voiced her strongest opinion so far on the proposed development, saying: “I don’t think we can continue to give the go-ahead to new oil fields, so I don’t think that Cambo should get the green light.”
Mr Mutch said on social media: “Did the Scottish Government announce 100,000 new green jobs and magically phase out domestic demand for oil and gas today?
"If so, fantastic news well done.
"If not, ‘Stop Cambo’ doesn’t get us very far. In fact, it gets us unemployment and more imported oil for decades.”
Speaking in an interview with ITV Border on Wednesday, he added: “I think it is disappointing, I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense and it is also at odds with what the First Minister was saying just last week at the COP26 conference in Glasgow.”
Industry body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said that without the Cambo development the UK would need to import oil and gas from other countries – giving it a bigger carbon footprint.
OGUK external relations director Jenny Stanning said: “While we are accelerating greener energies to help ensure Scotland achieves net zero by 2045, we’ll still need oil and gas as those technologies are scaled up, to avoid the lights going out.
“Stopping our own production means we’d simply have to import it from Russia, Qatar and other countries at a bigger cost to the taxpayer, jobs and the environment."
Holyrood energy spokesman Liam Kerr said that the move was a “desperate bid” to please the Greens, who are in a co-operation agreement with the Scottish Government.
Mr Kerr said: “Egged on by Labour, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that she is against the Cambo field and the thousands of Scottish jobs it would protect.
“By refusing to back the Cambo development, the SNP have deserted the industry they once cited as the cornerstone of their economic case for independence.”