Reform UK leader Richard Tice was embroiled in a feisty GB News debate with Just Stop Oil campaigner Zoe Cohen over proposed development at the Rosebank oil field.
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) said consent has been given by the oil and gas regulator to owners Equinor and Ithaca Energy to drill in the area.
The field lies north-west of Shetland and contains up to 35 million barrels of oil, making it one of the largest untapped discoveries in UK waters.
Speaking on GB News, Tice claimed the development marks an exciting step forward for the UK’s oil and gas industry.
Richard Tice and Zoe Cohen became embroiled in a feisty row
Zoe Cohen, a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil, criticised Tice on his assertion, claiming the field’s potential production of 69,000 barrels of oil per day only spells bad news for Britain and its net zero commitments.
“The Treasury is only going to be a net loser on this”, she said.
“Families watching this are not going to be better off, your bills will not go down and this oil will be sold on the global market to the highest bidder.
“It’s not British oil, it does not belong to us.”
Tice argued that it is in fact a “huge opportunity” given the number of jobs it will offer Britons.
“It will bring millions of pounds here, whether it’s sent elsewhere or not, it will still provide jobs.
Rosebank oil field has been granted development and production consent by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA)PA
“Aberdeen has been a huge generator for jobs, what is your solution if you don’t want this?”
Cohen argued that renewable sources of energy such as offshore wind farms are likely to be the only sector offering long term job security in the UK.
She added that continuing with new oil and gas will provide “economic, societal and climate collapse by 2040”, which she claims has been forecast by a series of “esteemed scientists”.
Tice snapped back, suggesting household bills will rise significantly as a result of the drive for net zero.
A new Rosebank oil deal has been approved by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA)PA
“Forecasts suggest every household will have bills of at least £1,000 due to net zero”, he said.
“It’s real people’s cash in their budgets which they haven’t got.”
Cohen interjected by suggesting it is a “political choice” to heap additional bills on the taxpayer, saying millionaires should be forced to cover the cost instead.
The campaigner went on to suggest people should join Just Stop Oil in a bizarre plea, which Tice sarcastically dubbed a “marvellous promotion”.
The GB News presenter went on to argue that the offshore wind sector has “failed”, pointing to the Government’s latest clean energy auction where no new farms were secured despite there being the potential for five gigawatts of projects, which could have been enough o power eight million homes a year.
“The price has to be much higher”, he said.
“They can’t make it viable unless the price is way higher. Developers don’t want to bid because it would have been humiliating and embarrassing.”
Speaking on the Rosebank ruling, Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “We are investing in our world-leading renewable energy but, as the independent Climate Change Committee recognise, we will need oil and gas as part of that mix on the path to net zero and so it makes sense to use our own supplies from North Sea fields such as Rosebank.
“The jobs and billions of pounds this is worth to our economy will enable us to have greater energy independence, making us more secure against tyrants like (Vladimir) Putin.
“We will continue to back the UK’s oil and gas industry to underpin our energy security, grow our economy and help us deliver the transition to cheaper, cleaner energy.”