Sturgeon humiliated: Plot to block North Sea drilling thwarted: ‘Completely unacceptable’

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Scottish ministers are reportedly furious at the Prime Minister for not consulting them before announcing the new Energy Security Strategy. The plan, launched to combat soaring global energy prices in the face of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, relies on Scotland as a key player in helping to country shift to low carbon sources of energy. Scotland is a major hub for wind energy, possessing 25 percent of Europe’s entire offshore wind potential.

The region is also bordering on the North Sea, where the Government plans to issue new drilling licenses for oil and gas exploration.

Michael Matheson, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, was furious that he was not given an advanced copy of Mr Johnson’s energy strategy.

During an interview on Good Morning Scotland, he said: “The Government haven’t provided a copy of the strategy to the Scottish Government and they haven’t engaged with us in the development of the strategy.

“Despite having written to the Government last month setting out a range of actions that we believe that they should take and the fact that it will lean very heavily on Scotland’s energy resources it’s critical that the Scottish Government were involved in the shaping of any strategy and consulted on its content.

“Sadly none of that happened, which is completely unacceptable given that Scotland is an exporter of energy to other parts of the UK and will continue to become even more important as we move towards becoming a net zero society.”

Mr Matheson said that the Scottish Government’s position was “clear” on oil and gas.

He added: “Any new oil and gas reserves that are being opened up need to be compatible with meeting our net zero objectives.

“It’s not just the Scottish Government’s view, actually, it’s also the view of the Committee on Climate Change that’s the independent adviser to both the Scottish and UK governments on these matters.”

The Government has pushed heavily for wind energy, announcing an ambition for 50GW by 2030 and more investment in onshore wind farms.

The UK also estimates that 7.9 billion barrels of oil reserves and resources remain under the North Sea, along 560 billion cubic metres of gas.

This energy security strategy puts pressure on the SNP and First Minister Ms Sturgeon, who has flip-flopped on North Sea oil exploration in recent years.

Previously, the SNP popularised the phrase “It’s Scotland’s oil” as a rallying cry for Scottish Independence, arguing that revenues generated from North Sea exploration would not benefit Scotland as long as it remained a part of the United Kingdom.

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However, in recent years the party has shifted its focus on wind energy, and gone as far as opposing new oilfields being built in the North Sea.

Last year, facing pressure from climate activists, Ms Sturgeon said that the proposed Cambo oil field off Shetland “should not get the green light”.

After facing heavy opposition from climate change protestors, the development of the oil field was put on hold when Shell pulled out.

Given the new energy strategy and its renewed focus on domestic oil and gas production, it is possible that Shell restarts the project.

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