Greenpeace accused of siding with Putin and putting British security at risk

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By Paul Homewood

Greenpeace has been accused of making Britain more vulnerable to Russian blackmail by urging a judge to block drilling at a major North Sea gas field.

The eco campaign group claims Shell was wrongly granted a development licence for the Jackdaw field without proper environment checks last month, in defiance of the UK’s climate commitments.

It has brought a legal challenge against the Government and is vowing to frustrate other schemes brought forward in the North Sea as well.

Philip Evans, a spokesman for Greenpeace UK, said the decision to approve Jackdaw was a scandal and would make no difference to domestic energy bills.

But a Whitehall source claimed that blocking domestic oil and gas production would leave Britain more exposed to European markets and a potential squeeze by the Kremlin.

The war in Ukraine has forced European Union countries to cut their consumption of Russian gas and find alternative sources after Vladimir Putin suggested a key pipeline could be turned off.

The Whitehall source said: “Choking off domestic oil and gas does nothing to reduce demand, it simply leaves Britain more reliant on foreign imports, more vulnerable to supply shocks, and more exposed to Kremlin attempts to weaponise the gas market.

“The only people who want to stop North Sea production are Greenpeace activists and Putin.

“We support the extraction of North Sea oil and gas and will vigorously defend this decision.”

Greenpeace rejected that suggestion, pointing to statements made by ministers themselves which downplayed the impact North Sea resources can have on the energy crisis.

Jackdaw, which sits roughly 155 miles east of Aberdeen, could account for as much as 6.5pc of the North Sea’s total gas output by 2025 under plans put forward by Shell.

Although the company’s plans for the field were initially knocked back by environmental regulators, they were later approved in June following revisions.

On Monday Shell confirmed it had taken the final investment decision to proceed. Zoe Yujnovich, Shell’s upstream director, said: “Investments like Jackdaw are… providing the energy people need today while serving as the foundation for investments in the low carbon energy system of the future.”

It came after ministers stressed that while Britain must cut down on fossil fuels in the long term, there was a need to bolster domestic production after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent international oil and gas markets into turmoil.

However, Greenpeace argues that the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment & Decommissioning (Opred) failed in its legal duty to carry out checks on Jackdaw’s environmental impact.

For instance, they say Opred must consider not just the emissions created by the process of extracting gas from the field but also the emissions that will result from burning that same gas.

Overall they estimate 284.4bn cubic feet of gas will be extracted from Jackdaw, as well as 2m barrels of non-gas liquids, resulting in more than 16m tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Greenpeace miss the point totally (and probably deliberately) – if we don’t burn gas from the North Sea, we will burn gas from somewhere else.

And it their very policies which have already led to much bigger losses of output in Europe, which has ultimately led to Putin’s control of European energy.


JULY 26, 2022