By Sophie Squire
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2790

Anger as Tories approve new Abigail oil field in North Sea

Protests in Scotland stopped the Cambo oil field—and protests can stop this one
Issue 2790
Large oil rig

Ithaca Energy already has the Alba field 130 miles north east of Aberdeen (Pic: Ithaca Energy media)

Three months on from the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow, the Tories have approved the construction of a new oil field in the North Sea. It comes as a bitter blow after campaigners forced a halt to the development of the Cambo oil field development in December.

The new Abigail oil field will be developed by Israeli-owned Ithaca energy. It will be situated 233 kilometres off the coast of Scotland and will be in use for around eight years.  

The project is due to contain 5.5 million barrels of oil equivalent, split between oil and gas, and will cost around £200 million to build. 

To justify the construction of the new oil field the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said the project would have “no significant effects on the environment”. But this can’t possibly be the case owing to the scale of the project. 

Climate activists have responded to the announcement with anger, especially after Boris Johnson promised last year that Britain would significantly reduce fossil fuel use by 2035. 

Extinction Rebellion UK wrote on its Twitter page, “We cannot drill new oilfields and meet our targets. Boris Johnson and his crooked, corrupt and criminal government are taking the piss.”

Tessa Khan from climate charity Uplift asked, “Why is the government sanctioning an oil and gas development that will see little to no benefit for UK energy customers or taxpayers, which only worsens the climate crisis, and where the only winners are the oil firm behind the project?

“If we carry on down this path, we’ll be dependent on a very expensive, highly polluting energy source for decades longer than is necessary.

“The government needs to stop rolling over for the oil and gas industry, stop dishing out licences, and get on with making sure people have access to affordable, renewable energy.”

Any new oil fields will make the British government’s net-zero plans, which are already not good enough, impossible to achieve. 

Oil disaster in Ecuador

While the Tories continue to support oil extraction projects, the environmental destruction the fossil fuel industry’s causes was seen in the Amazon rainforest this week. 

A rock struck and ruptured an oil pipeline running through the Amazon jungle in the Napo province of Ecuador on Friday. 

This caused oil to pour from the pipeline, damaging trees, soaking into the soil and polluting a river. The pipeline is owned by private company OCP Ecuador. The company has not yet revealed the true extent of the spill. 

The rupture has led to worries that river water used by the indigenous people of the region could be contaminated. 

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon wrote on its Twitter, “We demand to know the number of barrels spilled and what the process of delivery of water and food will be for the communities. It is clear that the river water cannot be used or consumed.”

The bosses and their cheerleaders in government continue to ruin our planet for profit. Activists must fight to stop fossil fuel production altogether. 

Explosion on badly maintained oil tanker

An oil tanker exploded off of the coast of Nigeria last week.

The Trinity Spirit had around 50,000 barrels of oil on board when the explosion occurred.

The ship is owned by the Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd and had been in operation for 30 years. That’s a decade longer than it should have been.

A number of other companies had stopped using the ship to transport crude oil. They found issues with its boilers and that it had “too many technical issues” and was “badly maintained”.

Initial reports said all of those on board survived the blast. But seven of the ten members of the crew are still missing.

The spill comes after 20,000 barrels of oil from a disused wellhead contaminated a river beside the town of Nembe also in Nigeria.

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