SHETLANDERS have sent a “message in a bottle” plea to Norway to oppose development of a controversial oil field.
The short film by campaigners, titled Dear Norway, calls on their “siblings across the sea” to halt work on the Rosebank oil field, 80 miles off Shetland’s coast.
Rosebank is thought to hold the equivalent of 500 million barrels, making it the largest undeveloped oil and gas field in the North Sea.
It would be operated by the Norwegian state-owned oil company Equinor, and the UK Government is set to make a decision on whether the development will go ahead.
The film is shot around Shetland and sees a local boy send a message in a bottle to Norway about the environmental harm from the project and asks it to stop Rosebank. The letter begins “Dear Norway, this is Shetland, your sibling across the sea. We need to talk.”
Laura Bisset, a young climate campaigner from Shetland who features in the film, said: “Drilling at Rosebank is another step backwards in a race against the climate crisis which we are already losing. Now has to be the time to take action before it is too late.
“Our little Island is more than a vessel for oil, and it is important for others to know we are being affected by Rosebank and that we care about the impact.”
The film aims to highlight historical and cultural ties between Shetland and Norway to bolster its message – and warns that burning Rosebank’s oil and gas reserves would create more CO2 than the combined annual emissions of all 28 low-income countries in the world.
Instead, Norway is urged to “lead the transformation” away from oil and gas, and that “together, we can supply clean energy across Europe”.
Alex Armitage, a Green Councillor on Shetland Islands Council who is also in the film, said: “We all know that climate breakdown is threatening our future, yet still we continue to burn fossil fuels.
“In this age of delusion, the world needs leadership on climate. As enlightened societies, the UK and Norway must take a stand and make the choice to leave our fossil fuels in the ground and lead the global energy transition.”
There are also fears over the impact of Rosebank on marine life, with the potential installation of a pipe through the protected area of the Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt.
The decision of whether to proceed with the oil field development lies with Westminster, rather than Holyrood.
The UK Government has repeatedly been urged by activists to put a stop to the plans.
Scottish Greens energy and environment spokesperson, Mark Ruskell has described Rosebank as “a climate disaster waiting to happen”.
He said: “We are already way past the point when we should have been moving away from oil and gas, yet Westminster is doubling down on it.”