An oil project off the coast of Scotland that had become a test of Britain’s environmental credentials was shelved by its main owner on Friday.
The decision to halt Cambo, as the oil field is known, is a huge win for environmental groups like Greenpeace, and a blow to the North Sea oil industry. It comes just over a week after Shell, which owns 30 percent of the project, pulled out of the investment.
“We are pausing the development while we evaluate next steps,” said Siccar Point Energy, a London-based company that is backed by private equity firms, including Blackstone, the financial management giant.
Siccar Point said it had planned to invest $2.6 billion in Cambo, and had already spent $190 million on the field since acquiring it in 2017. The firm said that developing Cambo, a potentially valuable source of oil and natural gas, would have created 1,000 jobs.
Environmental groups, on the other hand, said that starting new drilling projects was not compatible with Britain’s goals on tackling climate change and reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The British government has been considering whether to let Cambo go ahead.
Located northwest of Scotland’s Shetland Islands, Cambo became a target of protests, including at the recent United Nations climate summit in Glasgow. Scotland’s top politician, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, has said she did not think it should be given a green light.
On Dec. 2, Shell said it would not go ahead with investment because the economic case was not strong enough.
Shell’s decision, which was also prompted by the potential for delays from protests and lawsuits, led Siccar Point to decide it could not “progress on the originally planned time scale,” the firm said.