The British oil and gas regulator has extended by two years the license for the Cambo oilfield prospect in the North Sea which is owned by Shell and Siccar Point, Shell said on Wednesday.
"The North Sea Transition Authority has awarded Siccar Point Energy and Shell UK an extension to the underlying licenses containing the Cambo field which were due to expire tomorrow," Shell said in a statement.
Shell last December announced it had scrapped plans to develop the field, which had become a lightning rod for climate activists seeking to halt the development of new oil and gas resources.
But following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the greater focus on European energy security, there have been growing calls to develop new oil and gas fields in the North Sea.
Shell said its position hasn't changed, but that "the extension to the licenses will allow time to evaluate all potential future options for the project."
Siccar Point confirmed the two-year extension, adding that the private equity-backed company "continues to work with its co-venturer Shell and the U.K. government to map out the next steps on Cambo."
Shell owns 30% in the project, while Siccar Point, which operates it, holds the remaining 70%. The field could produce up to 170 million barrels of oil equivalent and 53.5 billion cubic feet of gas over 25 years, according to Siccar Point.
(Reuters - Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Louise Heavens, Jan Harvey and Mark Porter)