NORWEGIAN state-owned energy company Equinor has announced it is postponing an investment decision on a new oil field in the Arctic.
Equinor said it is delaying any decision concerning the Wisting oil field, which would have become the largest single Norwegian oil asset approved by the Government this decade, until 2026. If given the green light the Wisting oil field would have become world’s northernmost oil field.
The Wisting oil field’s climate impact would also have been three times greater than the Cambo oil field proposed in the North Sea, which was recently paused after Shell pulled support for the project.
The decision is being treated as a victory by activists in Norway and giving hope to climate activists in Scotland, who are attempting to stop the Equinor-funded development of the Rosebank oil field located 130km off the coast of Shetland.
Difficult to describe how HUGE this is. When oil projects are planned in Norway, they are almost ALWAYS built, regardless of protests. Not now. This isn't just an investment decision, but a "holistic assessment". Means opposition has played a BIG role. Thanks for global support! https://t.co/bYsWMeh8wO— Aled Dilwyn Fisher (@AledDilwyn) November 10, 2022
Truls Gulowsen, leader of Friends of the Earth Norway said: “This is a huge victory for everyone who cares about the climate and vulnerable nature in the Arctic.
“The time to build new oil fields has passed, and we are certain that Equinor’s reckless plans for Wisting will never be realized.
“This should be the start of Equinor moving away from destructive projects all over the world, like Rosebank in the UK and Bay du Nord in Canada, and the first step towards a just transition in Norway.”
Equinor has previously said that the Rosebank oil field would lead to an investment of £4.1 billion in the UK economy and create more than 1000 jobs.
However, campaigners claim that the climate impacts of the field would be “catastrophic” and are calling on the UK Government to abandon the project.
Friends of the Earth Scotland oil and gas campaigner Freya Aitchison told The National: “This is a huge win for the campaigners who have been working on stopping the Wisting oil field.
"In kicking their final investment decision down the road, Equinor has caved to public pressure and is acknowledging that investing in new oil and gas extraction is not economically viable.
“The need to transition away from oil and gas will only be more urgent in 2026.”
She added: “Equinor is also trying to develop the massive Rosebank oil field in the North Sea, which would produce the same amount of climate-changing pollution as 28 low income countries combined.
“We must keep up the pressure on Equinor to stop Rosebank as well as Wisting. The science is clear that we cannot allow new oil and gas extraction if we are to stay within safe climate limits.
“People power works - last year we stopped Cambo, this year we have stopped Wisting, and now we will stop Rosebank too.”
It comes as a climate activist at the COP27 conference in Egypt confronted First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about the Rosebank oil field, which she has previously said should not be given the green light by the UK Government.