London, UK – Greenpeace UK climbers have managed to stop a 27,000-tonne oil rig contracted to BP from heading out to drill a new well in the North Sea for the sixth consecutive day.

At about 4am today, two Greenpeace activists reboarded the rig just hours after Police Scotland had arrested the previous climbing team and declared the occupation over.

Yesterday, police boats and climbers managed to remove two Greenpeace activists who had spent over 70 hours blocking the rig from leaving Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness. But two new climbers, Andrew and Meena, have now boarded the structure and climbed up to a gantry on one of the legs.

Rig workers notified the activists of an interdict – the Scottish law equivalent of an injunction – preventing them from accessing the rig, but Greenpeace UK is continuing the occupation in defiance of the injunction.

The occupation started on Sunday evening and has now seen three separate climbing teams working in shifts to prevent the rig from reaching the Vorlich field, where it plans to drill a well giving BP access to 30 million barrels of oil.

Greenpeace UK’s executive director John Sauven said:

“Our climbers are back on the oil rig and determined to stay for as long as possible. BP are heading out to drill a new well giving them access to 30 million barrels of oil – something we can’t afford in the middle of a climate emergency. We can’t give up and let oil giants carry on with business as usual because that means giving up on a habitable planet and our kids’ future. The UK government has announced a target of net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 – we have started to enforce it.”

  • At its last AGM, BP bowed to pressure from shareholders by backing a motion asking the company to demonstrate it is aligned with the Paris climate agreement. Yet BP is still planning to expand its oil and gas production at a time when it needs to be dramatically reduced.Greenpeace argues the business models of companies like BP are in direct opposition to efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change:
  • BP is outspending other oil majors on efforts to lobby against climate action. In Marchan investigation by Unearthed revealed BP successfully lobbied the Trump administration to weaken regulations that would have prevented the release of millions of tonnes of the potent greenhouse gas methane;
  • BP capital expenditure remains heavily skewed towards fossil fuel, in 2018 spent around $16 billion adding to oil and gas reserves, with $500 million – just over 3% –  being spent on alternatives to fossil fuels. As Bob Dudley admitted to the Washington Post: “If someone said, ‘Here’s $10bn to invest in renewables,’ we wouldn’t know how to do it”.

Despite scientists warning that existing oil and gas reserves already exceed what we can safely burn, BP is seeking to expand its operations in the Gulf of Mexico while welcoming President Trump’s move to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drillers.

ENDS

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Contact:

Greenpeace UK Press Office: press.uk@greenpeace.org, +44 7506 512442, + 4420 7865 8255