The RT Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
25 August 2021
I am writing to express my concern about the proposed Cambo Oil Field which would critically undermine the UK’s claims of climate leadership ahead of COP26 in November.
I am particularly concerned that Siccar Point Energy were due to commence preparatory work on the site this week, despite there being no legal permit or consent in place. Indeed, a Notice to Mariners published on August 6th, announced that the Siem Day vessel would be in the field from 25th August with the intention of installing three CAN-ductors at Cambo. Subsequently, on 19th August Petrofac (contracted by Siccar Point Energy) retrospectively applied to your department for ‘Direction to undertake Drilling Operations’. I believe a decision on this application is still pending.
As you will know, this work has now been postponed until 2022, with Jonathan Roger, CEO of Siccar Point Energy citing “operational issues” and the “closing weather window”.
It is, of course, welcome that work on Cambo is not due to immediately start without a permit, which Greenpeace lawyers consider would be in breach of the Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration Regulations 2020. However, a number of outstanding concerns remain regarding how Siccar Point Energy was able to plan work on Cambo without authorisation.
Specifically, did Ministers grant permission to Siccar Point Energy (or its contractor Petrofac) to install CAN-ductors at the Cambo site, separate from the final development permit? And if special permission had not been given to Siccar Point, what steps did your department take to prevent this preparatory work at Cambo from taking place ahead of 25th August?
The International Energy Agency have been clear that there can be no new oil and gas projects if the world is to reach Net Zero by 2050; and in response to the IPCC’s recent Sixth Assessment Report, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said “this report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet”. It could not be clearer that pressing ahead with the Cambo Oil Field when the world has already reached 1.1 degrees of global heating, flies in the face of climate science and would increase the likelihood of exceeding 1.5 degrees of warming. Furthermore, it will undermine the UK’s chances of leading a successful COP26 in just two months’ time. I therefore ask you to use your discretion to stop the development of the Cambo Oil Field.
I look forward to hearing from you about this important matter.