Greenpeace activists have boarded Norwegian oil rig 


Greenpeace activists have entered the oil rig Transocean Spitsbergen in the Barents Sea. “Irresponsible and illegal,” says Statoil.  The environmental organization Greenpeace is protesting against exploratory drilling in the Barents Sea, not far from Bjørnøya in the northwestern part of Norway. Activists from eight different countries are participating in the operation.

Arctic Advisor Erlend Tellnes, who was on board the ship Esperanza in the Barents Sea informs that approximately fifteen activistst have boarded the rig. “Most of them are up on deck, some of them are hanging in climbing harnesses,” Tellness says.

In a Greenpeace press release, Tellness describes the reason for the operation:

“Statoil wants to gamble with the rich natural reserves at Bjørnøya and ice margins only to collect more of the oil that the climate cannot handle that we burn. That is why we are here to ask Statoil to stop.”

Grenpeace has sent in a complaint against Statoil to the Ministry of Environment, which is currently processing the case. The activists, however, think it is wrong that Statoil is allowed to continue drilling while the complaint is being processed.

Ørjan Heradstveit in Statoil informs that the oil rig was on its way to the Hoop-area in the Barents Sea. He says that Statoil was granted permission from the Ministry of Environment to start search operations associated with the Apollo-project in the Hoop-area.

“The company cannot drill in oil-bearing formations until the complaint has been processed by the Ministry,” Heradstveit confirms.

“Statoil respects the right to legal protests and thinks that it is important to have a democratic debate about the oil operations. Statoil has been in dialogue with Greenpeace during the past few months. We have informed them about our search plans in the Barents Sea, and Greenpeace has had the opportunity to share their viewpoints and ask questions,” according to Heradstveit.

Heradstveit emphasizes that Greenpeace has been warned against the dangers associated with an operation at an oil rig in open water. “When they still go ahead with this measure, we think that their behavior is irresponsible and illegal.”

He adds that there is currently a dialogue between the activists and the staff on the rig.

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