Scotland minister defends Cambo oil field, insisting sources like it ‘still required’

Scotland Minister David Duguid has defended the proposed Cambo oil field and insisted energy sources like it are “still required”.

The Tory MP’s comments come ahead of a meeting on Tuesday with Siccar Point Energy in Aberdeen to discuss the proposed oil field off the west coast of Shetland.

An exploration licence for the field was granted in 2001 and the Oil and Gas Authority is now considering whether to approve extraction of more than 800 million barrels of oil from the site.

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Mr Duguid said: “I’m eager to learn more about the proposed Cambo field.

The North Sea oil industry could expand into the Cambo field off the west coast of Shetland. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

"As we transition to cleaner, low-carbon and renewable energy, demand for oil and gas is declining and will continue to do so, even with new fields such as Cambo.

"But until that transition is made, as the UK Government is pioneering with the North Sea Transition Deal, sources like Cambo are still required.

“The Independent Climate Change Committee advises that we will continue to need oil and gas in the coming years as it is still vital to the production of many everyday essentials, including medicines.

“It is far preferable for the UK’s needs to come from our domestic supply, supporting our own workers, rather than relying on imports whose sources may not be responsibly recovered.

SNP East Lothian MSP Paul McLennan

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“Not producing our own oil and gas through the energy transition not only risks the economy and jobs, but also security of energy supply.

“Working with the UK Government, industry is committed to responsibly managing supply through the energy transition, while developing technology, innovation and expertise that will be critical to net zero and fighting climate change in line with our aims at COP26 in Glasgow in November.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously insisted the Cambo field was a matter for the UK Government, only to then write to the Prime Minister suggesting a summit and urging him to “reassess” existing oil and gas licences following a growing Cambo oil field backlash.

Ms Sturgeon’s letter sparked an angry backlash from a host of environmental groups, who accused her of not going far enough.

The issue has now opened a rift in her own party, with SNP MSP Paul McLennan telling an environmental event in Edinburgh he was against Cambo.

He said: “I'm not part of the Scottish Government. I'm a member of the SNP and obviously an MSP there. I wouldn't support it. Full stop. It's not needed.

“The Fraser of Allander report actually mentioned the opportunities for Scotland in developing renewable energy. It's there. We don't need it. We do not need it going ahead.

“Now, I might get my backside kicked for saying that, who knows, but I think the key thing is for me we've already got the solution.

“We don't need [a] new oil field.”

Scottish Labour shadow net zero secretary Monica Lennon said: “The Tory government is completely out of touch with reality.

“We are facing a climate crisis – we must do all we can to deliver a just transition from fossil fuels, not drill for more oil.

“We need a relentless focus on creating the green jobs of the future. Only by doing that can we have a just transition for all.

“The Tories and the SNP need to wake up to the threat that the climate crisis poses and act to protect our people and our planet.”

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross last week accused Ms Stugeon of putting the “constitution” before climate in a written plea urging the SNP leader to support jobs in the North Sea.

He said: “More than 100,000 jobs depend on Scotland’s oil and gas industry.

"A speedy, but sensible transition to net zero is essential to protect those jobs, our communities and the wider economy.”

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