Legal

Shell’s Jackdaw gasfield and Ineos plastics project face legal challenges

Campaign organisations are taking separate legal actions over plans for a new gasfield and Ineos’s plastics project.

Greenpeace announced today that it was challenging ministers over the approval of Shell’s Jackdaw field in the North Sea while ClientEarth and 13 other organisations have taken the Flemish authorities to court to block Ineos’s E3bn plastics project in the Port of Antwerp in Belgium.

Protest against the Jackdaw field at the Shell AGM in London, 24 May 2022. Photo: DrillOrDrop

“Ministers failed to check climate damages of burning gas”

Greenpeace said its case against the government over Jackdaw centred on the emissions generated from burning gas produced by the field.

The organisation said officials failed in their legal duty by not assessing these emissions.

The UK’s offshore oil and gas regulations require regulators to consider the risks to human health and the environment from a range of different impacts, including indirect effects.

Greenpeace said gas from Jackdaw would generate more carbon dioxide than the annual emissions of the whole of Ghana.

The gas would not help to ease the UK’s energy crisis or cut household bills, Greenpeace said. The gas belonged to Shell and would be sold on the international market to the highest bidders, it added.

Greenpeace warned ministers that it would be ready to take legal action every time they acted unlawfully to prioritise new fossil fuels.

The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, approved the Jackdaw project, 250km east of Aberdeen, on 1 June 2022. At the time, he said:

“Let’s source more of the gas we need from British waters to protect energy security.”

The scheme involves drilling four wells, installing a new wellhead platform and a new 31km pipeline.

Philip Evans, oil and gas transition campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said:

“This Jackdaw approval is a scandal. The government knows that burning fossil fuels drives the climate crisis, yet they’re approving a new gas field in June, without proper climate checks, and declaring a national emergency over heatwaves in July.

“Meanwhile household bills are soaring, and the government is ignoring common sense solutions – like home insulation, heat pumps and cheap renewable power.

“We believe this is an astonishing dereliction of the government’s legal duty, and we won’t let it stand. So we’re taking legal action to stop Jackdaw, and whenever we see the government acting unlawfully to greenlight new fossil fuels we stand ready to fight in the courts.”

Other climate campaigners have welcomed the challenge. Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Oil and Gas Campaigner Freya Aitchison said the legal action would “send a strong message to the government that the climate movement will oppose fossil fuel expansion in every way we can.”

She said:

“Climate scientists and energy experts alike are clear that we cannot afford any more gas extraction if we are to limit dangerous warming, yet the UK Government is ploughing ahead with licensing projects like Jackdaw which will lock us into continued reliance on fossil fuels for decades to come.

“The UK Government must stop issuing any new fossil fuel licences and instead start planning for a managed phase-out of production, with a just transition for workers and communities.”

In a separate action, Greenpeace is seeking permission from the Supreme Court to challenge BP’s permit to extract oil from the Vorlich field. And campaigners have also threatened legal action if the government approves a new oil field at Cambo, off Shetland.

Last year, the government promised that a “climate compatibility checkpoint” would be applied to decisions on new fossil fuel licences, so that new exploration for fossil fuels could only go ahead if deemed to align with net zero.

But the announcement was criticised when a loophole became clear which meant the new checkpoint would not apply to new permits for individual projects like Cambo or Jackdaw.

€3bn Ineos plastics project faces court action

The challenge over Ineos’ €3bn Project One in Antwerp harbour is the latest stage in a long legal campaign against a scheme to convert fossil gas into ethylene, one of the building blocks for plastics.

ClientEarth and the 13 other organisations have argued that Ineos failed to present an adequate assessment of how the project, near a protected wildlife site, would affect climate, nature and surrounding air quality.

The lawsuit contends that the Flemish authorities unlawfully approved the project without first fully assessing its impacts.

The groups will also argue that the effects of nitrogen pollution continue to be underestimated and the implications of a likely increase in Antwerp Port’s pellet pollution have not been fully assessed.

ClientEarth’s lawyer, Tatiana Lujan, said:

“Make no mistake, investments like Project One are the fossil fuel industry’s ‘Plan B’ – using fossil gas to make plastics is an attempt to keep the fossil fuel industry alive. This would be Europe’s largest plastics development in decades.

“These projects not only have devastating local environmental and climate impacts, but also global consequences. The plastics that these projects help produce emit carbon dioxide at each stage of their lifecycle. It’s this ‘slow-burn’ factor of plastics that continues to go unaccounted for.

“Instead of putting a stop to this hugely destructive and unnecessary project, the authorities have welcomed it. As they have failed to acknowledge or share the inevitable repercussions of Project One, we’re left with no choice but to take the project to court and have its approval overruled once and for all.”

23 replies »

  1. Or, for a more complete picture one can read the Telegraph, where their sources suggest choking off local supply does nothing to demand and just assists Putin blackmail. Both of which are factually correct but inconvenient so get no mention.

  2. Complete picture – The Telegraph. Surely an oxymoron.
    Factually correct….spoiler. Does term in this context mean ‘Martin agrees’.
    Readers decide.

    • A more complete picture can be gained from multiple sources, 1720. (note the word-more-KatT.)

      Then I could avoid travelling many miles to demonstrate against something that had not happened! And, the environment would be so much better for it. Or, I could use the OED if I had a doubt about definitions.

      Looking at my first sentence posted at 7.06am, both statements still factually correct whether someone dislikes the source, or not. Indeed, I note that since then, news that gas prices have rocketed after more Putin blackmail.

      So, good old Shell, HO now in UK, taxation to UK more defined than before and then a windfall tax to allow some extra dosh-for what? Oh yes, to be targeted at reducing UK energy bills. Which “we” are lead to believe does not happen because some page within some manual states that is not so. On top of which, many pensioners given a bit more help via those dividends.

      • Well, that may be your opinions chaps, but I hold little store by them. “We” are all fallible, but multiple sources cut down the risk of being seen to be just wanting to be smart.

        Perhaps, in this instance you would like to stop trying to be smart, and quote where within my post of 7.06am there was anything incorrect? Inconvenient Jono, maybe, but right.

  3. The idea the Telegraph provides a complete picture on anything relating to climate change is laughable, below is from the LSE and written just last year.

    “The leader writers at The Daily Telegraph have demonstrated once again that their deeply ideological opposition to climate change policy makes them an unreliable source of information on the topic.”

    Charles Moore, was a member of the climate denial group GWPF.

    In fact, I think it it is only since record 40C temperatures in the U.K. and wildfires destroyed houses that an article has appeared in the Telegraph acknowledging climate change.

    The North Sea is still flaring gas which increases emissions significantly. Yet flaring other than for emergency reasons has been operated by Norway since the 70s. The existing North Sea operations could improve significantly.

    Shell a multinational company, currently making billions every day in profit, will own any gas extracted and gas will be sold at market price. Shell is free to export and sell the gas to any country. So prices for consumers are unlikely to fall as a result of this development.

    The argument for energy security would have to be proved as much would depend on other available options and where Shell sells any gas produced. But what can be proved is that if we are to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown we should not be developing ANY new fossil fuel reserves.

    If Jackdaw would be in production by 2025 the global energy market may have stabilised and improved so the situation may be different. However, the emissions from Jackdaw will continue to destroy the climate for the long term.

    We cannot sacrifice life and the planet to beat Putin. Developing more fossil fuels can never be the right solution.

    The only real way to lower energy prices and emissions is to develop green energy and move away from fossil fuels, that will defeat Putin and all fossil fuel geopolitics. The sooner we achieve that the better.

    https://www.lse.ac.uk/granthaminstitute/news/fleet-streets-last-dinosaur-of-climate-change-denial/

    https://www.desmog.com/2022/03/14/former-telegraph-editor-charles-moore-quits-climate-denial-group/

    • KatT, the natural gas contained under the North Sea belongs to the Crown, the government sets the terms and conditions for the exploration, production and transfer of ownership of that gas at the wellhead.

      The downstream place for the sale, purchase or exchange of gas is then the UK’s trading hub, the National Balancing Point (NBP).

      As with all commodities the price of the gas on the NBP is then set by supply and demand, this results in a different (higher or lower) price than on other gas trading hubs such as TTF in the Netherlands, ZEE in Belgium or Henry in the USA etc. There is no global price for gas.

      If the gas produced at the Jackdaw field was then to be exported to other countries, the buyer would have to compete for limited availability and capacity on the two gas interconnectors to mainland Europe that run from Bacton to Zeebrugge in Belgium and Balgzand in the Netherlands or export for use in Ireland via the interconnectors from Scotland.

      There are no other export routes available as the UK’s three LNG terminals do not have gas liquification capacity.

    • And, KatT, you have so soon forgotten the windfall tax?!

      So, yes, N.Sea production is currently impacting UK energy bills. Had your £150 yet?

      Real shame, isn’t it when what is actually happening to energy bills, whilst inconvenient to the old line, actually shows the old line needs some updating? Not really. I have had my £150. Have yet to see any contribution from over the horizon, apart from USA frackers increasing their rig numbers but pocketing the revenue.

      Could lower energy prices by removing the green levies! Or, the question could be raised about oil prices at $100/barrel+ and petrol then at £1.30/litre in 2014, and find whether the answer is really cheap renewables even without the £160B and £54B yet to come.

      • Oh dear, more of the same. Like the opinions of the remaining two contestants for the booby prize the British premiership has become under Toryism, the facts in these lines of arguments are reduced to figures where they masquerade as arithmetic, even science, succeeding only in persuading us that their proponents know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.
        For heaven’s sake, get a grip. The planet is burning up. Do you understand? The planet is burning up. You’ve not succeeded in persuading us of the contrary. You’ve not succeeded in completely diverting our attention.The planet is burning up.

        • Not attempting to persuade you, 1720. Don’t know who your us are that you refer to, but the us having lunch today were told by the younger generation “we” will not be told what to think by activists. (Now, that is the most positive news I have received for a long time.)

          Especially those who reject science and arithmetic by “interpreting” the scientist would have changed his views post his death, and also redefining what a fact was! Seem a pretty lazy lot. Once that point is reached, what is the point of persuasion? They are hardly going to be influencers, and are better left to be a salutary lesson, that the younger generation appear to be noting and learning from.

          But, once again, Take Away Thursday is here, so must focus upon my order. But, will avoid a portion of 1720, that appears to have been overheated.

          • I take it your ‘younger generation´ was the waitress who just happened to volunteer the information you want to hear. I take it the activists you refer to are the providers of the facts concerning humanity under fire from uncontrolled global heating. It will be a great pity if the proponents of fracking continue to deprive these young ones of the facts which might just secure a future for them.I think we all know what to think of such people. It hardly needs pointing out, but considering my interlocutor I’d better do so, that there is nothing in this for your ‘activists’ other than humanity’s future. The contrary is of course true of their opponents.I wonder what “positive” traits you discern in ignorance, induced or otherwise.
            It’s clear that you don’t get it, do you? Which facts are you denying Martin? We are forced to ask you again. Is it anthropogenic climate change? Is it not as bad as we think? Have science and maths. got it wrong? Do you know something we don’t? – just thought I’d end with a silly question.

            • Well, your whole post was silly, 1720, so no need to be concerned about the end. And, that point has been discussed before.

              Once again, you “interpret” to make a point, but like your previous attempts you are just incorrect. Perhaps being correct should take a bit more of your time and interpreting less?

              There do seem to be large parts of humanity that you have little regard for, 1720, now including waitresses. (No, it wasn’t, it was a teacher! Which is particularly pleasing that young ones will not be easily mislead.) Well, I then don’t find it surprising they have little regard for your type of activity either, when they spend a lot of their time discussing the difference between a fairy tale and a fact, and see others trying to, clumsily, reinterpret both. As for ignorance, that is judged by observing knowledge, or lack of it, over time. I suggest you avoid that, 1720. The end of year report would have the usual 1720 reference to irrational exuberance, that would be better replaced with rational thought. Maybe also some comment about it is 1720’s work that is assessed and blame for errors should not continually be placed upon the imaginary “we’s”?

  4. Yes, the very same one, Jono. Which results in? More investment to then raise more tax upon and then for UK to decide what to spend it upon. The Norwegians seem to do very nicely from such a policy, with public services generally much better than in the UK.

    Meanwhile, I see big investment going on for oil and gas over the horizon which will provide no taxation to the UK and just adversely impact the balance of payments that will make the UK tax payer have to cough up more and be penalized by a poor balance of payments impacting upon borrowing costs. As is so obvious, UK demand will not be reduced by whether the product comes from the N.Sea or over the horizon.

    You know I am right, again.

  5. Jackdaw is a GAS FIELD!! haha you Anti’s are hilarious… how are you currently heating your water? (Cold showers?)

  6. New Zealand’s government has argued that the climate crisis is of “insufficient weight” to stop it issuing oil and gas exploration permits – despite declaring a climate emergency and committing to eliminate offshore exploration.

    The government is in court defending its 2021 decision to allow fossil fuel companies to prospect for oil and gas in Taranaki. A group of students sued over the decision, saying the ministry failed to adequately consider the climate impact of the exploration, or give enough weight to crucial documents including advice from the climate commission and the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero By 2050 report.

    Just six months before granting the permits, the government had declared a national climate emergency. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said at the time that the declaration was “an acknowledgment of the next generation. An acknowledgment of the burden that they will carry if we do not get this right and do not take action now.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/28/climate-crisis-insufficient-to-halt-oil-and-gas-exploration-says-new-zealand-government

    Even New Zealand recognises that fossil fuels are going to be required for a while yet.

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

  7. Do avoid answering the questions at the end, Martin. This would at least be consistent. You are not able to state that you reject anthropogenic climate change, or its contribution to global heating. You are not able to state that you think the scientists have got it wrong, or that they are exaggerating. You are not able to state that maths and science have or have not got it wrong, because that would expose your arguments to ridicule. You imagine that because I suggested it was a waitress who had volunteered an unsolicited opinion, definitely not influenced by a form of questioning, I must have little regard for waitresses. You accuse me of incorrect interpretation: of what, the scientific evidence and the interpretation of scientists? Or is this ‘interpretation’ just a useful word to throw out, like ‘humanity’, ‘denier’, ‘rational’, ‘fairy tale’? These appear to fulfil the function of demonstrating that you are connecting with the original. It doesn’t work.We are not fooled.
    I think these are facts we can all interpret if we choose.
    As for me, I find myself continually wondering how you can reject all this science and maths, you who believe that they are humanity’s driving force. Without your answers, we can only speculate, and the conclusions are unflattering.
    You accuse me, who have interpreted in the past – perhaps wrongly, I don’t claim or suggest omniscience – or you at least suggest that I have interpreted the scientific data in a manner concordant with my pre-existing ideas about the culpability of the FF industry. No so Martin, lift your eyes and look. I do not need to interpret, it’s done for me by an impressive mass of scientifically based treatises, not to menti9n by nature, doing its poor best to convince the remaining deniers.
    The syntax of most of your post defies my poor attempts to comprehend.
    By the way, check the past participle of the verb to ‘mislead’.

    • Well, 1720, your first sentence showed your degree of comprehension. Please try to understand “that point has been discussed before”. That is quite different to your “interpretation”. You know it has been discussed before, so why make a false statement? (Paul doesn’t like the term fake news, but take your pick, it amounts to the same thing.) Keep on asking the question and you will get the same answer. Except, I have already given it and have no intention of doing so again.

      I can state quite categorically that the Laws of Arithmetic and Physics have been ignored. I can observe that in a bill for £160B to try and make unreliable renewables reliable after the event. Then the next one for £54B. And, more to follow. Perhaps you could enlighten me, and the memory of the late Chief Scientific Advisor, where that was mentioned in the contract made with the population? The physics were ignored and the laws of arithmetic are now having to compensate. Just another sin tax, where those setting the tax sinned by not telling the bill payers they would be taxed? A bit of an aside, but where were the costs to achieve Net Zero tabulated? No, that is not an argument against Net Zero, it is just a question as to where were the costings, with or without the £214B?

      You appear to be somewhere off with your fantasy world with the waitresses. Well, each to their own, but the perils of assume are well known, and you could have avoided going there. I can’t see why you would wish to create fiction when you could have found the facts so easily. Well, I can, but I am too polite.

      And just to remind you, check who it was who raised the issue of fairy tales a couple of days ago, but actually produced the fairy tale themselves by misrepresenting what had been posted. Remember who that was, 1720? Seems to be a bit of a trend that could be avoided with a bit more self control and/or a better memory.

      • I reject your statement that you have answered the questions. If you have, just cut and paste the answers because I, and I’m guessing everybody else, has missed them. Which point are you talking about – ““Have science and maths. got it wrong? Do you know something we don’t? “
        You make a show of answering the science/maths question.However, you know that the question was asked in the context of the scientific warnings about global heating, and you know that your answer tries to sidestep this. Fortunately my memory, which you impugn, is quite capable of holding on to what I’ve just asked, and also, QED, the totally irrelevant answer. Here comes the question again, rephrased to preempt intentional evasion. Do you accept that scientists and mathematicians have between them proved that global over-heating is anthropogenic? Do you accept that fossil fuels have played by far the largest part in this process? I’m guessing, only guessing of course, that your answer is ‘No’.
        Waitresses and fairy tales are another attempt to distract in the present context.

        • Waitresses and fairy tales? An attempt to distract? Yes, they were 1720-and it was you who introduced them! And, in both cases you were factually wrong. Perhaps if you wish to distract it may be better to attempt it with something that is correct? Otherwise it attracts attention that your posts are inaccurate, and that is another discussion we have had before. That’s a fact. (OED:fact-a thing that is known to have occurred, to exist, or to be true.)

          If your memory is as good as you claim, you know that, so why try and suggest otherwise?

          You waffle on about science yet it is you who interpreted that the Chief Scientific Advisor would have changed his mind, if he had lived! Not very scientific at all, 1720. Pretty desperate unscientific stuff when you start acting as if you can see something in the tea leaves. Or, like hammering in a jigsaw piece full of leaves into the piece that is sky, and interpreting the leaves were blown there by a tornado!

          Yes, my answer is no. The numbers of people now on the planet have played the largest part. And, the life expectancy that has facilitated that is in a large part due to the use of fossil fuels. So, maybe the life expectancy achieved is the largest part? Fossil fuels are not a problem-if they are decarbonized. Eminent scientists have stated that, not just my opinion. That is already happening, it could happen a lot more. To get that to happen it will need investment, and the best option for that is from the same fossil fuel companies and that is happening. Even though when it takes place those with nothing better to do, shout greenwashing. That discussion has already taken place, 1720, but your interest doesn’t seem to extend beyond “something must be done”, and when something is discussed you then admit you know little about the oil and gas industry, but rejecting the something. That is your choice 1720, but some are more interested in solutions rather than shouting. Maybe the trial Glencore are doing in Australia where they are doing CCS from a coal fired power station may make use of coal look pretty attractive? I am sure if that was the case you would quickly find something else to shout about that allowed you to express your politics, but I will be more interested to see what results from that trial.

          Something must be done, is similar to anyone but Trump. It is a lazy cop out producing poor alternatives which do not provide the solution, as I suspect will be shown in USA shortly.

  8. Me:
    “Here comes the question again, rephrased to preempt intentional evasion. Do you accept that scientists and mathematicians have between them proved that global over-heating is anthropogenic? Do you accept that fossil fuels have played by far the largest part in this process? I’m guessing, only guessing of course, that your answer is ‘No’.”

    Martin’s answer:
    “ Yes, my answer is no. The numbers of people now on the planet have played the largest part. And, the life expectancy that has facilitated that is in a large part due to the use of fossil fuels. So, maybe the life expectancy achieved is the largest part? Fossil fuels are not a problem-if they are decarbonized.”

    Thank you, Martin.A real answer at last.
    I think the rest of your post can safely be ignored.
    Might I recommend the BBC’s ‘Big Oil vs.The World’ to anyone interested.

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