Early this morning two Greenpeace activists dressed as polar bears climbed the oil drilling rig West Hercules at an upgrading facility in Ølen, Rogaland in Western Norway. The curious polar bears began inspecting the rig which is due to leave shortly for the Arctic as part of Statoil’s extensive summer drilling program in the northern reaches of the Barents Sea.
“Statoil must leave Arctic oil alone. The development of Arctic oil leads us on a path towards irreversible climate change, and there is no reason that Norway should push further north into dangerous waters for more oil,” says Truls Gulowsen, the leader of Greenpeace Norway.
The nine planned summer drilling locations for the Barents Sea will include a site at 74 degrees North.
“This rig is bound for one of the most northern drill sites in the world. As a leading environmental country, Norway should not be paving the way for an Arctic oil rush,” says Gulowsen.
Arctic oil drilling comes with serious safety challenges and risks. Extreme weather and temperatures, along with the danger of equipment icing up, means that Arctic drilling can not be compared to Norway’s previous experience in the North Sea.
“No oil company in the world is prepared for Arctic conditions. It is unacceptable that Statoil wants to gamble with safety and the environment in the vulnerable Arctic regions,” says Gulowsen.
“Statoil intends to drill in ice-covered seas in Russia, Greenland, Canada and USA, while oil extraction in ice condition is not allowed in Norway. In the Russian Arctic the company partners with Rosneft that is responsible for over 10,000 oil spills annually. We call on Norwegian Prime Minister to stop this crazy oil rush and set a real example of environmental responsibility,” comments Roman Dolgov, Arctic campaign coordinator at Greenpeace Russia.
Almost 20,000 Russians already sent this request to the prime minister, and today we call on Norwegians to join them”.
If Statoil does not have the sense to stay out of the Arctic then Jens Stoltenberg must step in!