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Activists protest Rosebank oil giant in Norway, Aberdeen and Shetland

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Equinor is behind the controversial Rosebank oil field in the North Sea – the biggest untapped field in the UK – which was given the greenlight by the UK Government last year.

Campaigners from Stop Rosebank and Equinor Out joined forces at the AGM to pressure Equinor to scrap its plans for Rosebank and align its future strategy with meeting international climate goals.

Protests are also being held outside Equinor’s offices in Aberdeen, outside the Norwegian embassy in London, and in Shetland.

“Equinor seems to think it can carry on drilling for more oil and gas indefinitely, but it’s wrong,” said Lauren MacDonald from Stop Rosebank, who confronted board members directly in Stavanger. 

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“We are at that point where it has to stop.

“Temperatures around the world are off the charts, including in our oceans, climate scientists are terrified and conditions are rapidly becoming unliveable for millions of people.

“Equinor’s board and its backers in the Norwegian government now know that if they continue to pursue the Rosebank oil field they will have a fight on their hands.

“Whether it’s in the streets or the courts, we will resist their profiteering to protect our future”.

Two major Equinor shareholders have already said they will back a resolution calling on the company to specify how plans for new oil and gas fields are compliant with the Paris Agreement goals.

A group of investors led by Sarasin & Partners have highlighted that while Norway is a major exporter of oil and gas, the country has also backed internationally agreed-upon goals to cut fossil fuel emissions.

The National: Fossil Free London of activists demonstrated against oil and gas drilling at Rosebank this week (Fossil Free London/PA)

Environmental NGOs Greenpeace Norway and WWF Norway have also tabled a shareholder proposal that, if passed, would require the company to ensure that at least 50% of board members have adequate experience in energy transition and sustainability. 

If Rosebank goes ahead, it is likely to produce around 300 million barrels of oil in its lifetime, which campaigners say translates to more than 200 million tonnes of CO2 – more than the combined annual emissions of all 28 low-income countries in the world.

“We cannot go on building new oil and gas fields if we want to protect life on Earth, but Equinor and the Norwegian government remain intent on developing projects like Rosebank that will push us over the edge.

“Areas like Shetland are particularly vulnerable to the transition away from oil and gas, but we cannot continue like this.

“Opening new oil fields will not solve this problem.

“We need to leave as much oil as possible in the ground and focus on making a safe, fair transition towards green energy in Shetland and beyond.”

In 2022, Equinor posted record annual profits of more than $75 billion largely as a result of the global energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Norway is the largest supplier of gas to the UK with Equinor passing on dividends to the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

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