It took police over 1 hour to move out 3 “polar bears” from the action site near Statoil office in Moscow where they protested against company’s plan to drill for oil in the Russian Arctic jointly with Rosneft. Currently the activists are in court accused of illegal picketing.
9.30 a.m. the bears chained themselves to oil barrels branded Statoil and Rosneft and unfolded banners: “Arctic worth more than oil” and “We are hostages of your greed”. They were drumming on barrels demanding that Statoil should keep away from their home.
Statoil representatives refused to meet the protesters, agreeing that Greenpeace delivers its message to the office. So Arctic Campaigner Evgenia Belyakova handled the letter to Svein Olsen, head of Public Affairs at Statoil ASA.
After an hour police arrived and demanded to stop the activity: “You, bear, why didn’t you agree the demonstration with the authorities?” – demanded a policeman. It took the officers more than an hour to thrust the bears into three cars: they tried to transport them along with barrels and failed, then tried to break chains.
”Statoil’s plan to extract oil at 78 degrees north latitude in the ice-covered Barents Sea is a perfect example of double standards. Drilling in ice-covered waters is not allowed in Norway for safety reasons. It’s remarkable also considering that Statoil postponed indefinitely drilling offshore in Alaska realizing that US regulations are really strict. The company hopes to replenish oil resources in countries like Russia, where it can save money because of poor regulations. Moreover, to do this it partners with Rosneft, the company that is vying for a Guinness World Record with over 10 000 oil spills each year”, says Evgenia Belyakova.
On 14 May Statoil shareholders are to approve joint venture with Rosneft in the Barents Sea. Shareholder’s proposal not to operate in ice-laden Arctic waters is already included in the agenda of Statoil annual general meeting.
On 1 April a polar bear reached Kremlin on an ice floe, calling people to demand that Norway should not drill in the Russian Arctic. Over 36 000 have already sent letters to Norwegian Prime Minister.
On 23 April Greenpeace Russia applied to the Guinness Book of Records to register Rosneft’s record as having the greatest amount of oil spills in the world. According to the official data, in 2011 Rosneft had 10.7 thousand pipeline ruptures which is dozens of times more than had Shell, BP, ConocoPhilips, Chevron and other oil industry giants.