UK Energy Minister Greg Hands has reacted to Shell’s decision not to progress the Cambo oil field project by insisting investment in the North Sea still has a “very good future”.
The oil and gas giant made the bombshell announcement yesterday, saying its reasons were because “the economic case for investment in this project is not strong enough” and there was a potential for delays.
The withdrawal of investment immediately threw doubt on the future of the Cambo project, with industry figures including Sir Ian Wood voicing concerns.
Speaking to the P&J, Mr Hands – who was appointed Minister of State for Energy, Business and Clean Growth in mid-September – said the question of whether the oil field would be going ahead was “a matter for the companies to determine what they wish to do”.
He added: “The Cambo oil field was, of course, licensed by the UK Government back in 2001, it would still have to go through our approval process overall, but I think that’s a question probably best put to oil and gas operators.”
‘We are strongly supportive of the sector’
Despite doubts over the oil field, which is located west of Shetland, the Conservative politician insisted the future was positive for the North Sea energy industry.
He said: “I think investment in the North Sea actually has a very good future.
“I was at the North Sea transition forum on Monday and the message I gave very clearly from the UK Government – energy is reserved, it’s the UK Government – is we are strongly supportive of the sector moving forward.
“Mainly, currently, in an oil and gas configuration but moving increasingly, over the decades, to renewables: offshore wind configuration, tidal configuration, onshore wind, all of these other technologies.
“I think actually, the future for energy in the north-east of Scotland, as indeed across the UK, is a very bright one.”
Mr Hands had been visiting the north-east on Friday to see how power networks, the army and other organisations were handling the recovery from the devastation of Storm Arwen last week.