A decision to grant permission to open up the controversial Rosebank oil field is now expected to be delayed.

The UK Government’s North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) was expected to imminently determine whether the fossil fuels project should be given the green light.

But a decision is now not expected until after the UK Parliament returns from summer recess.

If approved, Rosebank would be the UK’s largest untapped oil field.

The UK Government has pledged to open up the North Sea to more fossil fuels projects, despite a flurry of warnings from the UN, the International Energy Agency and climate scientists.

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The NSTA has the final decision on whether to grant permission for Equinor’s Rosebank plans, but UK ministers are also required to sign off aspects of the development.

But reports suggest a delay to determine the development could be down to concerns Rosebank would be at odds with legally-binding climate targets.

City AM reported that electrifying the project if Rosebank is not powered by renewable energy, may not be compliant with emissions reductions required by the UK Government’s North Sea transition deal.

The UK Government has pledged to become net zero in 2050 while Scotland’s contribution to the climate crisis is due to end in 2045.

Burning fossil fuels such as oil and gas is a key contributor to the climate emergency.

If all the oil and gas contained within Rosebank is burned, it will produce the equivalent CO2 emissions of the annual emissions of 28 low income countries.

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Friends of the Earth Scotland oil and gas campaigner Freya Aitchison said: “This is the latest in a long series of delays showing that the pressure from campaigners and across civil society to stop the disastrous Rosebank field is working.

“However, the UK Government needs to end its climate denial and say no to Rosebank once and for all.

“The vast majority of the emissions from any oil field comes from burning the oil and gas extracted, not from the production process. The claim that companies will power the extraction with renewable energy are a greenwashing distraction from the true damage this field will cause.”

She added: “The wind farm on Shetland that is earmarked to provide electricity to Rosebank and other oil fields could either power three new oil fields or all the homes in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Shetland put together.

“It should be a no-brainer that this clean power should be used to bring down people’s energy bills and not to prolong the lifespan of the oil and gas industry.

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“The Scottish Government needs to find its voice and join the chorus who strongly oppose this disastrous project adding to the pressure on the UK Government to say no to Rosebank.”

An NSTA spokesperson said: "The NSTA does not comment on individual cases.

“We remain fully committed to reducing emissions across the industry as a whole and our production projections, even with new developments, show a continuing decline to 2050 in alignment with the global 1.5C reduction target.

“We are also working hard to take significant action in areas such as carbon capture, only recently announcing offers of 21 storage licences.

“We are holding North Sea industry to account on its commitment to halve emissions from production operations by 2030. Strong progress is being made, with overall emissions down by more than a fifth between 2018 and 2021 and flaring cut in half over the last four years.”