The EnvironmentaLIST: 6 facts about oil companies’ Arctic drilling plans that will leave you thinking WTF

by Cassady Craighill

July 24, 2013

The Prirazlomnaya oil platform is approached by the Anna Akhmatova (a Gazprom passenger vessel). Greenpeace is holding a series of actions to prevent Gazprom from completing the work that will allow them to begin drilling in this fragile region. Gazprom looks set to begin full commercial drilling operations by early next year, becoming the first ever company to start commercial oil production in the offshore Arctic.

© Denis Sinyakov / Greenpeace

While Shells absolute catastrophe of an Arctic drilling attempt last year should have scared off any prospective oil companies from sinking their talons into the pristine ecosystem, think again.

Mega US and international oil companies have partnered with Russian oil companies who not only have a horrendous track record of environmental safety and regulation, but also have little to no offshore drilling experience and little interest in a positive public image.

So far Exxon, BP, Statoil and Eni have partnered with Rosfneft, a government-owned oil company, while Shell has joined Gazprom, Russian’s largest company, in what you might call an ecological death squad. What do these companies get out of shaking hands and sealing the deal? In exchange for access to the Russian Arctic and the continental shelf, the international oil companies will provide capital and technical expertise.

Theyre going to need it.

6. Rosneft is responsible for 75 percent of spills in Russians largest oil province while extracting only 25 percent of the total regional output.

This fact isn’t that surprising considering the company also has the lowest overall safety budget.

An oil spill at the Rosneft oil field,

An oil spill at the Rosneft oil field,

5. No director or member of the Gazprom board of directors has a lick of offshore experience. Suppose they left Must have experience in oil drilling off the job descriptions?

In addition to Gazprom having no experienced leadership on offshore drilling, Rosneft is no expert either. In fact, they have never operated an offshore project to an extraction stage. Meaning the thing that they’re trying to do in one of the most fragile and crucial ecosystems in the world, they’ve actually never done before.

4. Gazprom ordered a$3.7 million tablet for its CEOclaiming it was crucial to running the business more efficiently. Because a fancy iPad is all you need to run an oil company.

While millions of dollars can buy you a fancy tablet, it apparently can’t buy you offshore drilling experience.

3. In 2011, Gazprom rig, the Kolskaya, sank off the coast of Russia killing 53 of its 67 crew members in the frigid Pacific Ocean. This sinking actually killed more people than the BP Deepwater disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

While in tow from Russia, the rig hit a storm and sank within 20 minutes. While not drilling when it sank, the incident was certainly a setback for a company with plans for more Arctic drilling.

2. Vladimir Putin is encouraging Exxon and Rosneft to start their new partnership off with a bang and head for the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.If any company knows how to one up BP on oil spills, its Rosneft.

Broadcasting straight from a drilling rig,Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his enthusiasm for the Exxon/Rosneft joint venture, and suggested they set their sights on the Gulf of Mexico.

1. Rosneft is so big, bad and evil that the band Pussy Riot chose them as the target of their first video after being released from prison.

The group said the goal of their latest video was to highlight the corrupt relationship of the Russian government, particularly President Putin, and energy companies. The band members were previously sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism.”

On the other side of the Arctic in Alaska, President Obama is considering opening up the area for oil drilling by launching a new round of lease sales for the Chukchi Sea.

Take action today and join our campaign to protect the Arctic.Tell President Obama that we cant stop global climate change by opening up more of the Arctic for oil drilling by reckless and ill prepared companies.

And read last week’s EnvironmentaLIST.

Cassady Craighill

By Cassady Craighill

Cassady is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based on the East Coast. She covers climate change and energy, particularly how both issues relate to the Trump administration.

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