‘Cheering job losses’ Sturgeon and SNP savaged after Shell pull out of controversial plans

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Oil giant Shell dramatically decided to pull out of the Cambo oil field project, saying that the economic case for involvement was no longer strong enough. Furious Scottish Conservatives hit out at the changes, criticising a Scottish Government minister for “cheering job losses”.

Ms Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, has also been accused of contributing to Shell’s decision after she announced she would no longer support Cambo or other new oil fields.

The North Sea development 75 miles off the coast of Scotland, worth £1.9billion, has been thrown into doubt after the controversy.

Shell previously had a 30 per cent stake in Cambo but claimed that the economic case for involvement was no longer strong enough.

The oil giant also warned of the potential for delays to the project.

Supporters of the project have argued that it would create 1,000 jobs – with thousands more in the supply chain.

It has also been claimed that Cambo will provide enough gas to power 1.5 million homes for a year and produce up to 170 billion barrels of oil over 25 years – enough to power the UK for four months.

However, it has been criticised by environmental campaigners who say it will contribute to the climate crisis.

Zero Carbon Buildings Minister Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP for Glasgow, described Shell’s decision as “welcome news” and “necessary”.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme, he added: “It’s a challenge to all of us to recognise that the world is now finally, at long last, after decades of effort by the fossil fuel industry to slow this down, to deny the problem and to distract us from it, the world is finally moving away from fossil fuels.

“That means that we need massive investment in the sustainable industries of the future.”

Many people lashed out at the comments, urging Ms Sturgeon to “distance herself” from them.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero Liam Kerr called Mr Harvie’s remarks “insulting” to oil and gas workers.

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Meanwhile, Chief Executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Russell Borthwick, added that the oil and gas industry shouldn’t be “vilified as the baddies”, saying: “We need to stop some of the knee-jerk reactions that we are hearing”.

He said: “The Cambo project not going ahead would risk Scottish jobs, risk our energy supply, and risk our ability to meet net-zero targets.

“Importing energy from abroad would be more expensive for the public and would do more harm to the planet than using the energy on our doorstep.

“It’s shameful to hear a Scottish Government minister cheering on potential job losses across the North East of Scotland that would actually hurt our ability to meet net-zero targets.

“Patrick Harvie wrongly brands supporters of Scotland’s oil and gas industry as ‘hard-right’, which is insulting to the tens of thousands of workers in our North Sea sector.

“Nicola Sturgeon must distance her government from these comments quickly.

“Her opposition to future oil and gas projects seems to be discouraging investment already.

“It won’t help if she lets government ministers take potshots at everyone who works in oil and gas.”

Cambo currently has a licence but is waiting for the go-ahead from the government’s Oil and Gas Authority.

But Ms Sturgeon said last month that the project should not get the green light.

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