Blogger profile

Ben Ayliffe

Ben is a staff member from Greenpeace UK. A keen ornithologist who has worked on many Greenpeace issues, Ben is head of the Arctic oil campaign. He lives in London and watches a lot of Arsenal matches.

  • What does it take to run a successful, modern oil company?

    You'd be forgiven for thinking it's just drills, pipelines, and lawyers. But there's an even more crucial element - the trust and approval of people like you and me.

    One way of building this trust is to actually avoid drilling in extremely deep water, or stop risking the fragile Arctic ocean with giant rigs.

    Alternatively, you can sponsor museums and sporting events to improve your image without making any real changes at all.

    You might have guessed which one they chose.

    Exxon sponsors the Bislett Games in Oslo, where our polar bears and activists have been in action this week. Read more >

    • Gazprom spends an estimated $45m each year to get its logo plastered over the UEFA Champions League
    • BP has signed a multi-million dollar deal to s...
  • Our Arctic Sunrise is coming home

    Blogpost by Ben Ayliffe - June 7, 2014 at 11:34

    Arctic Sunrise, Free at Last

    Last night we had a remarkable phone call from Murmansk.

    It was from the team of lawyers representing Greenpeace International telling us that the Russian Investigative Committee (IC) had decided to release the Arctic Sunrise, after nearly nine months of illegal detention in this remote Arctic port.

    The Arctic Sunrise was illegally seized at gunpoint in international waters by Russian commandos last September after a peaceful protest at Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya Arctic oil platform in the Pechora Sea. The 28 activists and two freelance journalists onboard were kept for months in jail on spurious charges of piracy and then hooliganism, before finally being granted a Parliamentary amnesty at the end of December last year.

    The ship got no such amnesty. Instead she has been left unattended a... Read more >

  • Is this the most dangerous club in the world?

    Blogpost by Ben Ayliffe - May 28, 2014 at 8:48

    The most dangerous club in the world?

    As the thunder broiled and lightning split the sodden night sky, a team of activists from Greenpeace Netherlands scaled the giant drilling rig GSP Saturn in the port of IJmuiden to stop it leaving for the Russian Arctic. The rig has been hired by Gazprom to drill a well at the Dolginskoye field in the Pechora Sea.

    A few hours later, 15 volunteers left the Greenpeace ship Esperanza and climbed on-board the Transocean Spitsbergen in the northern reaches of the Barents Sea. This huge rig has been chartered by Norway's state-owned company Statoil to look for oil in these frigid waters this summer.

    International oil companies like Shell, Gazprom and Statoil are part of a new club of Arctic destroyers. Their websites and company logos might look different, but they have much more in common th... Read more >

  • In a recent news item on the BBC, Artur Akopov, chief of operations on the Prirazlomnaya, made a number of absurd claims about the safety of the peaceful Greenpeace action on the side of Gazprom’s giant oil platform. In a subsequent report, the company also made some peculiar comments on its ability to successfully clean up an oil spill in the freezing waters of the Arctic.

    We tend to hear this sort of thing from the oil industry now and again, about how they’ve finally mastered the most extreme environment on earth and have everything at their disposal to drill through the thickest ice without any problems. Usually we ignore this type of verbosity, knowing that it’s all talk, but this time is different.

    Given the seriousness of the charges the Arctic 30 face, I think it’s important to se... Read more >