Greenpeace tests ministers’ resolve on offshore oil ban

Press release - 23 September, 2010
Bergen, Norway, 23 September 2010 – Government minsters arriving in Bergen, Norway, today, for the annual meeting of the OSPAR Convention on marine pollution have been welcomed by Greenpeace activists dressed in hazard suits covered in oil and bearing a banner urging “Stop Deep Sea Drilling”. The activists challenged the minister to sign the banner as a way of declaring their support for a German call for a moratorium on deep sea oil drilling.

Stop Deep Sea Drilling

Greenpeace campaigner Truls Gulowsen talks with Erik Solheim, Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International development. Greenpeace has invited OSPAR-nations to declare their support for a ban on offshore oil drilling. © Greenpeace/ Birgitte Horn

OSPAR convention signatories have agreed to "take all possible steps to prevent and eliminate pollution" in the North-East Atlantic, a deep sea oil drilling ban would cover areas including, the UK’s North Sea, the coast of Norway and the Barents Sea the Faroe Islands, Shetland Iceland and the east coast of Greenland.

"Today the ministers have a choice: they can protect our oceans and commit to a clean and safe energy future or they can continue to allow companies like Chevron risk oil disaster in order to line their pocketbooks", said Truls Gulowsen, Greenpeace Nordic Energy Campaigner.

Despite the German Government’s proposed moratorium and expectations that several other nations will support the resolution, countries such as Denmark and Norway have already voiced their opposition. Greenpeace has already threatened the British Government with legal action over deep sea oil drilling after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, the British Government also opposes a moratorium.

"Any government opposing this resolution is putting their friends in the dirty oil industry ahead of the environment and the interests of the people who live around the North-East Atlantic", added Mr Gulowsen.

For the past month, Greenpeace has been challenging the oil industry’s attempts to move into deeper waters and more dangerous and fragile environments. Activists halted drilling for two days in August at Cairn Energy’s arctic drilling rig, the Stena Don. Currently, activists are into the third day of an occupation of the drilling vessel, Stena Carron, which has been chartered by oil giant Chevron to drill exploratory wells in the Lagavulin oil field in the deep waters off the West of Shetland.

Greenpeace’s concerns over safety and viability of expanding deep sea drilling in waters covered by OSPAR nations have been echoed by oil experts. A report released yesterday by Dr Steffen Bukold in the journal Energy Comment concluded: "All offshore oil production is inherently risky with deepwater and ultra-deepwater oil drilling especially high-risk. The hostile and remote environments such as the Arctic cannot safely tolerate any offshore oil production."


For more information please contact:

Truls Gulowsen, Program manager, Greenpeace in Norway; Currently in Bergen,+47 90107904

Stefan Krug, Political Unit Director, Greenpeace Germany, Currently in Bergen, +49 171 8780 836

Tina Loeffelbein, Political Unit Coordinator Greenpeace Germany, Currently in Bergen, +49 151 167 209 15


For video and stills of the recent Greenpeace actions in Scotland and Bergen contact:

Melissa Thompson, Greenpeace International Video Desk: + 31 621 296899

John Novis, Greenpeace International Picture Desk: +44 (0) 7801 615 889



Read more in the Greenpeace OSPAR briefing.

Read the full report by Dr Steffen Bukold in the journal Global Oil Briefing.