The UK Government is facing an opposition from climate activists following its approval of the Abigail oil and gas field, off the east coast of Scotland.

The approval by the government’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) in January 2022 came weeks after the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) was held in Glasgow.

At the conference, held in November 2021, climate experts warned that new fossil fuel developments would not align with the world’s climate targets.

Opposing the OGA’s decision, climate activists said that the offshore field will not do much to help secure energy supplies due to its diminutive gas reserves, and would also lead to carbon emissions.

Uplift director Tessa Khan said that the field would “see little to no benefit for UK energy customers or taxpayers, which only worsens the climate crisis, and where the only winners are the oil firm behind the project”.

Uplift is a group that campaigns for a fossil-free UK.

Khan said the government needs to focus on reducing its dependence on “very expensive, highly polluting energy.

“The government needs to stop rolling over for the oil and gas industry, stop dishing out licences, and get on with making sure people have access to affordable, renewable energy,” Khan added.

Opposing the approval, Friends of the Earth Scotland climate and energy campaigner Caroline Rance said: “The UK government should immediately stop granting permission for new oil and gas projects, and instead begin a managed phase-out of existing fields while ensuring a just transition for affected workers and communities.”

In response to the climate groups’ opposition, an OGA spokesperson said: “Our analysis shows that Abigail will be economic and won’t change the UK’s position as a net importer of oil and gas.

“The OGA will continuously hold the operator to account on emissions reductions as part of our stewardship.”

Located in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), block 29/10, the Abigail field is planned to be developed in two phases.

It will be developed by Ithaca Energy using two subsea production wells that will be connected by a new manifold and pipeline system to the existing floating production facility, located in the UKCS block 30/06.

Last month, Shell announced that it had renewed talks over the the Jackdaw gas field development, in the North Sea, with the UK’s offshore regulators.