Responding to reports of oil giant, Shell pulling out of the controversial Cambo oil field project in Scotland’s North Sea, the Scottish Greens have released a statement urging the country to begin preparing for “the end of the age of oil and gas.”

One of the largest oil companies in the world, Shell purchased a 30% stake in the field in 2018. However, amid increasing criticism from environmentalist groups, court orders to significantly reduce carbon emissions, and uncertainty surrounding changing environmental requirements in the UK oil industry, the oil and gas multinational has decided not to move forward with the project.

According to a company spokesperson, the decision was made after “comprehensive screening” concluded that “the economic case for investment in [the Cambo project] is not strong enough at this time.”

Despite Shell’s withdrawal, Cambo majority stakeholder, Siccar Point Energy, remains “committed to pursuing the project.”

Drilling was projected to begin as early as 2022, pending approval by the UK Oil and Gas Authority. However, following the oil giant’s decision, it remains unclear when or if, the North Sea oil extraction project will begin.

While the news has caused some concern among Scottish oil industry workers, according to Scottish Greens energy and climate spokesperson, Mark Russell, these are positive developments for Scotland’s energy workers.

“For a company like Shell to state that it is not economically viable to extract energy from this site is huge,” he says.

According to Russell, the UK government must take Shell’s announcement as a sign of things to come and start “planning accordingly.”

“Scotland has the potential to lead Europe in offshore renewables, with 25% of the continent’s renewable energy production [coming out of the small North Atlantic nation].”

Although there is certainly work left to be done, Scotland is already at the forefront of the renewable energy industry in Europe. In 2020, 97.4% of the country’s electricity was generated from renewable sources. Furthermore, with huge investments to come in the renewable energy sector, the country plans to have 50% of its energy consumption to be provided by renewables by 2030, and 100% by 2050.

With all of these changes in motion, Russell believes that the time is ripe for the UK government to “divert support that has previously been targeted at the oil and gas industries” and instead focus on the “industries of the future.”

“It is vital that work on building a just transition for workers Scotland’s energy industry begins now. We know that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be created in Scotland’s renewable future, and there’s no time to waste,” he states.

Jules Ownby

Jules is a journalist and podcast producer from Montreal, Canada. His areas of interest are the politics of the Americas as well issues surrounding immigration.

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