A controversial North Sea oil field has been given the go-ahead, prompting anger from environmental campaigners.

Rosebank, which is one of the largest untapped oil fields in UK waters, has been granted development and production consent by the UK Government’s regulator, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA).

Environmental campaigners including Greta Thunberg had voiced strong opposition to the development.

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also voiced her displeasure.  

However, the UK Government said the move would create hundreds of jobs and contribute billions of pounds to the economy

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NSTA grants consent for oil drilling in field off Shetland


The Rosebank field, which lies north-west of Shetland and contains up to 350 million barrels of oil, is currently one of the largest untapped discoveries in UK waters.

Rosebank could produce 69,000 barrels of oil per day, about 8% of the UK’s projected daily output between 2026 and 2030, and could also produce 44 million cubic feet of gas every day, according to its owners. 

The companies behind oil field, Ithaca Energy and Norway's state oil firm Equinor, said they had taken their final investment decision to invest 3.8 billion dollars (£3.1 billion) in the project in the first phase of development.

They said that the field is expected to start producing in 2026-2027, with the project supporting around 1,600 at its peak during construction, and long-term will supply around 450 jobs.