ExxonMobil halts drilling in Russian Arctic in response to sanctions - Greenpeace response

Press release - 19 September, 2014
London, 19 September 2014 - According to recent media reports, ExxonMobil has halted its attempt to drill an exploration well in the Arctic’s Kara Sea, following the announcement of new sanctions from the EU and US governments. The project was part of a joint venture with Russian state owned energy giant Rosneft.

Greenpeace today released new satellite photos showing Exxon’s West Alpha rig at the drilling site on 9th September 2014.

Responding to the news, the head of Greenpeace International’s Arctic oil campaign, Ben Ayliffe, said:

“This is great news for the Arctic but a major blow for Exxon’s shareholders. It’s also a clear example of the risks involved in working with Russian firms to drill for oil in the offshore Arctic. Even before the sanctions it was clear that the Russian Arctic was a risky place to do business, with a lax safety culture and an unreliable regulatory regime.

“Other oil companies must surely be looking at Exxon’s $600m gamble and wondering whether their own partnerships are worth the risk. The Russian Arctic poses unique technical and environmental challenges at the best of times, but especially in a period of major geopolitical tension. It’s time for international oil companies to reconsider these joint ventures and turn away from the Russian Arctic.”

The news comes a year to the day since Greenpeace activists were held at gunpoint by Russian special forces following a peaceful protest at a oil rig owned by Gazprom, in the nearby Pechora sea. The “Arctic 30”, as they became known, were held for near three months before being released under the terms of an official amnesty.

A separate group of Greenpeace activists boarded the West Alpha rig in Olen, Norway in March this year to protest the drilling project.

These photos - and the new satellite images - are available at the following link:



For more contact James Turner at Greenpeace International at / +447415 515368


Bloomberg report on West Alpha’s halted drilling operation: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-18/exxon-said-to-halt-arctic-oil-well-drilling-on-sanctions.html