NICOLA Sturgeon has accused a Conservative MSP of talking “complete nonsense” over her opposition of a new oil field in the North Sea.

Scotland’s First Minister has confirmed that she does not support setting up the Cambo oil field, 125km north of Shetland, which is believed to contain more than 800 million barrels of oil.

Sturgeon had not explicitly opposed the new oilfield for some time, but back in August urged the Prime Minister to reassess the licence for Cambo.

Following the UN’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, and pressure from climate campaigners, Sturgeon made her position clear.

READ MORE: RECAP: Nicola Sturgeon faces down opposition questions at FMQs

In response to a question in Holyrood from Labour’s Monica Lennon, the First Minister said: “I don’t think we can go on extracting new oil and gas forever, that’s why we’ve moved away from the policy of maximum economic recovery and I don’t think we can go and continue to give the go-ahead to new oil fields.

“So, I don’t think Cambo should get the green light.

“I am not the one taking that decision so I’ve set out a proposal for the climate assessment and I think the presumption would be that Cambo shouldn’t and wouldn’t pass any rigorous climate assessment.”

In the wake of her comments, the Scottish Tories launched an attack on the Scottish Government – accusing them of turning down the opportunity for jobs in the north-east.

READ MORE: Nadine Dorries condemned over tweet to BBC editor Laura Kuenssberg

Liam Kerr, a Conservative MSP in the region, commented: "By refusing to back the Cambo development, the SNP have deserted the industry they once cited as the cornerstone of their economic case for independence."

During First Minister’s Questions, Tory MSP and former co-leader of Aberdeen council took aim at the First Minister’s opposition to the new oil field.

“On Tuesday the First Minister turned her back on 100,000 oil and gas jobs, many in the north-east. Yesterday the SNP turned its back on its commitment to fully dual the A96. Can the First Minister explain to the people of the north-east why she has turned their back on them?”

In response, the First Minister said “like much else” from his party’s benches, the claims were “complete nonsense”.

“But it also completely ignores the responsibility all of us have to address climate change,” she went on.

“On the issue of oil and gas, let’s firstly be clear on this. The transition away from oil and gas, which the science says is essential, must be a just one. It mustn’t put 100,000 workers into unemployment, or increase reliance on imports. The question that then flows from that is the key question.

“Do we say because we’ve got a current jobs and energy reliance on oil and gas that we continue to go on with new developments and unlimited extraction? Or do we say we need to break that cycle of reliance by investing in the alternatives and speeding up our move away from fossil fuels? I think our obligation says that we need to do the latter.”

The First Minister added that her government is focused on creating a just transition for those involved in the oil and gas sector – but said it would be easier to do if the UK Government “hadn’t turned its back on carbon capture and storage” at the Aberdeenshire Acorn Project.

“Perhaps that’s something that the Conservatives want to take up with their colleagues in London," she consluded.