Activists have sparked travel chaos in London today (September 4) after invading Westminster Bridge at rush hour to light flares and unfurl a banner.
The protesters are calling for an end to the further development of the Rosebank oil field in the North Sea.
Their action comes on the same day MPs return to Parliament after the summer recess.
Fossil Free London activists unfurled the 15 metre banner and set off red smoke flares on one of the main routes over the River Thames on Monday.
Joanna Warrington, a spokeswoman for the group, said: “Rishi Sunak wants to give billions of pounds of public money to a giant oil company in exchange for the climate time bomb, which will do absolutely nothing to lower our energy bills. It’s reckless and absurd.
“People want clean, cheap renewable energy, but the government is on autopilot, handing money to their oily chums.
“Yet again, they are prioritising fossil fuel industry profits over a future safe from climate breakdown. We need to stop Rosebank and drive oily money out of our politics.”
The Rosebank field is in the Faroe-Shetland Channel about 80 miles (130km) north-west of Shetland, in depths of about 1,100m.
It would be developed in two phases with the first involving the drilling of four production and three water injection wells. Phase two, which depends on the success of the first phase, involves drilling up to an extra three production and two water injection wells.
Under the plans, underwater installation will start next year with the drilling of wells beginning in 2025 and continuing into the third quarter of 2026.
But the scheme has met resistance on the strees of the capital and among a cross-party group of 50 MPs and peers who wrote to then Energy Secretary Grant Shapps in the summer to block the drilling.
The Government has said it will issue hundreds of new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea with a decision by regulators about Rosebank expected soon.
Critics say the field will receive £3.75billion of tax breaks from the public purse and burning oil from Rosebank will produce a level of emissions equal to the 28 lowest income countries combined.
Fossil Free London says its Westminster Bridge stunt is part of a longer campaign against the oil industry, culminating in three days’ worth of action.
The Rosebank site is owned by Norwegian state-backed oil giant Equinor.
Mr Sunak defended his decision to issue new exploration licences, arguing the decisions will be made in the normal way and Britain will need the energy it produces.
He said: “But what I’d say is that – entirely consistent with transitioning to net zero – that we use the energy that we’ve got here at home because we’re going to need it for decades.”
Labour has said if it wins the next general election it will not issue any new North Sea fossil fuel extraction licences.
But Sir Keir Starmer’s party has said it will honour any licences which have already been issued, including Rosebank.