U.K. wins challenge over BP’s North Sea oil licence

The U.K. won a challenge over its decision to grant BP plc a North Sea oil permit as judges pointed to the need for the country to have diverse sources of fuel as the current energy crisis drives prices for power ever higher.

The permit would allow BP to drill for 30 million barrels of oil in the North Sea, a move that Greenpeace argued would undermine the nation’s climate ambitions. A suggestion the Scottish judges quickly dismissed. There’s no evidence that the U.K. is ready to stop using fossil fuels yet, they said.

While Greenpeace wants an end to such oil drilling, the U.K. economy “is reliant in a number of different ways on the consumption of oil and gas,” the judges said. That means the issue is “essentially a political and not a legal one.” 

“At present, a shortage of oil and gas supplies is a matter of public concern,” they said.

John Sauven, Greenpeace U.K. executive director, said it would appeal the decision at the Supreme Court in a statement.

Greenpeace argued that the U.K. Government and the Oil and Gas Authority, the industry regulator, failed to properly inform the public about the permit and allow for challenges to be made on climate grounds. 

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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