Climate activists have reportedly expressed concerns over Shell plc, the British oil and gas corporation, rethinking its decision to discontinue the Cambo oilfield development, warning that such a move would jeopardize the company's commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
According to sources, the fossil fuel company could turn away from its decision to withdraw from the North Sea project as the economic, political, and regulatory landscape has changed considerably since the announcement was made barely three months ago.
When Shell revealed the long-awaited decision on Cambo in December, the Brent crude oil price was less than $70 (£53), but prices have risen since, hitting $116 on Tuesday morning, in part due to concerns that Russian supply could be interrupted or stopped as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.
The price increase has caused experts in the fossil fuel sector to reconsider project finances. Shell is said to have its own researchers working on the Cambo development, where it still owns a stake.
However, Shell is not believed to have formally reviewed its investment in the Cambo oilfield at its highest levels, which would almost surely be needed given the political sensitivity of the project.
As a result of the Ukraine invasion, countries all over the world are trying to lower their reliance on Russian oil and gas, with Boris Johnson suggesting that the UK should enhance its own national fossil fuel supply, primarily in the North Sea.
Mark van Baal, leader of the campaign group Follow This, stated that a decision to go ahead with the Cambo oilfield development would go against guidance provided by the International Energy Agency, which has called for there to be an immediate end to oil and gas exploration activities to keep climate change below 1.5C and meet the Paris climate targets.
Baal added that Shell itself has pledged to become net zero by 2050, yet has not laid out detailed steps on how it intends to reduce its own fossil fuel output.
Shell has maintained that it has met its commitments thus far in its plan to achieve carbon neutrality, but that it must not eliminate oil use earlier than the rest of the industry. It also mentioned its investments in low-emission technologies including public electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen generation.