Dozens of banks urged not to finance Rosebank oil and gas field

Image: Stop Cambo/ Stop Rosebank campaign

Campaigning organisations including Action Aid, Friends of the Earthand Greenpeace have sent a letter to 20 of Equinor’s financiers including Barclays, JP Morgan, and BNP Paribas. The letter, convened by BankTrack and Uplift, highlights that supporting the Rosebank oil field would violate these banks’ pledge to restrict global warming to 1.5°C.

BankTrack’s banks and climate campaign lead Maaike Beenes said: “The Rosebank field would be a dangerous step towards overshooting 1.5C of global warming, and by financing Equinor banks share responsibility.

“Any bank that is genuinely committed to a safe climate must engage with Equinor and cut ties with the company if it continues to develop the field.”

According to data from Rystad Energy, Rosebank is the largest untapped oil and gas field in the North Sea, with an estimated reserve of around 300 to 500 million barrels of oil equivalent. If developed, the emissions from Rosebank would surpass the combined annual emissions of all low-income countries worldwide.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a net-zero pathway for the energy sector in early 2021, stating that no additional oil and gas extraction capacity should be approved beyond what was authorised by the end of 2021, in a bid to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

All 20 of Equinor’s banking partners are members of the Net Zero Banking Alliance, which commits them to align their financial activities with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

According to an analysis from BankTrack, these 20 banks collectively provided more than $16bn in financing to Equinor between 2016 and 2022. Santander, Barclays, JP Morgan, and BNP Paribas alone contributed more than $6bn.

Uplift’s executive director Tessa Khan said: “So far, Equinor has shut its ears to the multiple warnings, from the UN Secretary-General, climate scientists and others, that there can be no expansion of oil if we’re to protect our children from catastrophic climate change.

“But money talks, and these banks need to join the growing chorus demanding that Equinor cease its plans to expand oil and gas drilling. Their climate commitments, if they have any integrity, bar them from funding Rosebank.”

The recent Climate Change Committee (CCC) report notes that while the UK will still require a certain amount of oil and gas until it achieves net-zero,  it will not need to develop new North Sea oil and gas fields without stronger climate stress checks.

Ministers are due to make a decision on granting Equinor a permit for Rosebank imminently – this decision may even come before Parliament’s summer recess.

Equinor has stated that the project “will bring much-needed energy security and investment in the UK” and argues that it is consistent with both the UK’s climate budgets and the company’s own 2050 net-zero goal.

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