UK Approves Shell's Revised Jackdaw Field Plan

Shearwater platform - Credit: Stuart Conway/ Shell Photographic Services
Shearwater platform - Credit: Stuart Conway/ Shell Photographic Services

Britain's regulator on Wednesday approved Shell's revised plan to develop a North Sea natural gas field as the government seeks to boost domestic energy output following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, Shell welcomed the decision and said it plans to move ahead with the development of the Jackdaw gas field which has the potential to produce 6.5% of Britain's gas output.

British business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said the Jackdaw gas field had received final regulatory approval after it was initially rejected on environmental grounds last October.

"Let's source more of the gas we need from British waters to protect energy security," Kwarteng said on Twitter.

Reuters last week reported that Britain's Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) was poised to approve the field's new environmental development plans, a major milestone for a new development. 

Under the new plan, Shell plans to start production from the field in the second half of 2025.

Environmental group Greenpeace said it believed the permit approval "could be unlawful, and will consider taking legal action."

The approval comes as Britain struggles with soaring energy prices in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, with the government urging domestic producers to boost investment to ramp up domestic oil and gas production.

Shell's new plan changed the way it processes gas at the Shearwater hub, to which the Jackdaw field will be connected. Rather than removing all naturally occurring CO2 from the gas offshore, some of it will be exported to the onshore St Fergus terminal where it will be further treated.

(Reuters - Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Ron Bousso and Shadia Nasralla; editing by Michael Holden, Kirsten Donovan, and Marguerita Choy)

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