top of page


During my MA, I wrote a research proposal asking if activist and NGO pressure could quash government support of the Cambo Oil Field, a huge, undeveloped site that lies just over 100km north-west of the Shetland Islands. I laid out a few potential lines of argument, threw in some academic theory to explore, and closed with the prediction

'I anticipate concluding that public opposition to the Cambo Oil Field is not strong enough to affect the government decision on this occasion’.

Naturally I’d been writing frantically for hours and it was 2am on the morning of the deadline as I saved and submitted, then, in my relief-slump, casually flicked to the news on my phone, only to be met with this:

I won’t lie. My first thought was that Shell had ruined my great research question. But after 10 seconds of that, I switched to wonder and incredulity!

Economic considerations were offered as the official explanation for Shell’s withdrawal, but at the time of their departure from the project, multiple environmental NGOs were asserting pressure on the UK government to deny the project’s application for a drilling licence, including big-hitters Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Since oil prices were particularly high at this time, political grounds seem a much more plausible reason for this surprise turn of events.

Which was kind of unbelievable to me. Call me cynical, but Big Oil is one of the most powerful industries in the world and holds enormous political clout, due to companies’ global scope, huge wealth and strong lobbying influence. Even the most prominent environmental groups are dwarfed by the power of Big Oil. Yet a week after Shell abandoned Cambo, Siccar Point Energy, the majority owners of the field, officially put the project on hold.

Whilst climate activists celebrated the halting of the project, there was also anger that this result stemmed from a decision from Shell themselves, as opposed to a government ruling. There are still multiple fossil-fuel projects for which companies hope to gain approval – a rejection of Cambo could have proved a defining case for the future of UK-backed oil projects, providing a clear indication of the government’s stance on the future of fossil fuel development.

Still, at a time I was feeling particularly despondent about the average person’s ability to take on giant corporations, the Cambo result was a timely reminder of the power of collaboration, and means that now the fight is addressing Rosebank, I genuinely believe that the voices of opposition could overpower the big bad guys, and we should all be jumping on board to make sure that these voices are LOUD, and they're not going away!

Last weekend I joined this awesome action in London as part of an international wave of resistance (I'd love to say I was one of the total badasses on the boat, but alas, I'm playing it safe up on the bridge! One day ⛵) Here's why the #StopRosebank coalition are saying hell no...

Rosebank is a vast oil field in the North Sea, not far from Cambo, and almost 3 times bigger. Situated right next to a marine protected area, its development would have a devastating impact on a whole array of marine species, local habitats and fragile ecosystems.

The recently published IPCC report stated that human-induced climate change is already affecting weather extremes in every region across the globe, and states unequivocally that continued greenhouse gas emissions will further exacerbate these. Only immediate and drastic action will avert irreversible damage to our planet: that means no more fossil fuels. The burning of Rosebank’s oil and gas would produce more CO2 than the annual emissions of the world’s 28 poorest countries combined.

A sweet little cherry on top of all of this - UK taxpayers would gift oil giant Equinor £3.75billion through government subsidies for this project, despite the company's record-breaking $28.7billion annual profit in 2022, a year when many British residents were cold in their homes, scared to turn up their heating as energy bills soared in the cost of living crisis.

In a nutshell, Rosebank getting the go-ahead would be disastrous both for endangered marine life as well as for emission-cutting targets and net zero pledges, and its development needs to be stopped.

If you agree, click here to get involved!

I'm so happy to have been utterly wrong when I wrote that I didn't think public opposition could halt the development of Cambo. Rosebank is bigger, the situation is more urgent than ever, and the opposition is louder. In the case of little-people vs Equinor, I'm backing us.


bottom of page