ANAS Sarwar has said plans for the controversial Rosebank oil field would go ahead under a Labour government if they are approved by the Tories.

The Scottish Labour leader told ITV Border his party would honour any new oil and gas licences granted under the current government.

It was reported last week that the party would block any new oil and gas developments but Keir Starmer has since claimed the plans would not hit jobs, insisting that oil and gas would be necessary for “many, many years” to come.

A decision on whether to allow drilling at the Rosebank oil field off Shetland - which is capable of producing up to 500 million barrels of oil - is expected soon. 

Norwegian state-owned energy firm Equinor owns the licence and is awaiting a final decision from the UK Government after a licensing round for production projects in the North Sea was opened up by Westminster.

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Asked whether Labour would honour any licence granted for Rosebank, Sarwar said: "We would honour any licences that are granted and that demonstrates that we're not suggesting a cliff edge, we're recognising that oil and gas will play a role for decades to come. 

"But the future for our energy supply lies in hydrogen, onshore wind, offshore wind, carbon capture, I would also argue nuclear power. That's where the opportunity lies and right now the strategic investments are not taking place."

Challenged on the fact continuing with Rosebank would blow a hole in Labour's green credentials, Sarwar added: "There's been no decision on Rosebank yet so our argument would be to invest in those new technologies and alternatives in the future but we're saying we recognise we're not in government right now and if we were in government we would honour any new licences because businesses need to have that confidence in terms of making those strategic investments."

The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the United Nations, as well as scientists and campaigners, have warned there should be no new investment or production of oil and gas if the world hopes to reduce global temperatures or reach net zero targets by 2050.

The Scottish Government has been urged by Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland to speak out against Rosebank, while revealing the extent that the Norwegian state-owned firm has lobbied Scottish parliamentarians.

Figures compiled by FoE Scotland found that from after the 2021 Holyrood election until the end of 2022, Equinor met 13 times with MSPs, five of which were with government ministers.