Korpfjell, Barents Sea, Norway 17 August 2017 – Peaceful activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise have entered the exclusion zone of Statoil’s oil rig, Songa Enabler in the Barents Sea with kayaks and inflatable boats, while swimmers are in the waters protesting with hand banners. The activists are there to deliver this message to the Norwegian government from around the world: Put People over Arctic Oil. They are also displaying a constructed giant globe in front of the rig with written statements to the government.

35 activists from 25 countries are escalating a peaceful protest after tailing the rig for one month in the Barents Sea.

The Norwegian government has opened up for a new oil frontier in the Arctic. The state-owned oil company has just started to drill for oil at the Korpfjell well, a controversial site 415 kms from land. It is close to the ice edge and an important feeding areas for seabirds. This is the first opening of new areas for oil drillings in 20 years and it is the northernmost area licensed by Norway.

The “environmentally friendly” Norwegian government granted new oil licenses, as part of the 23rd license round, in the Arctic on the 10th June last year. Just ten days after, they ratified the Paris Agreement.

Greenpeace US activist, Britt Baker, at the location said:

“As an American and global citizen, Trump’s decision to retreat from the Paris climate agreement and boost fossil fuels at the expense of people around the world was devastating. Likewise, we see the Norwegian government opening new oil areas in the Arctic at full throttle, in spite of knowing the dangers it will have for future generations. The major difference between the situation in the U.S and Norway is that Trump left the Paris agreement with tunnel-vision motives to extend handouts to the flailing fossil fuel industry. Norway may as well have left the Paris agreement given the Norwegian’s government desire to accelerate fossil fuel production. This government is showing the same disrespect to global climate commitments as Trump”.

Greenpeace and its co-plaintiff Nature and Youth are taking the government to court in November, arguing that the new oil licenses are in breach of the Norwegian Constitution’s right to a healthy environment (Article 112). Despite the ongoing legal case, Statoil is drilling several new oil wells in the Arctic this summer.

Greenpeace Norway Arctic campaigner, Erlend Tellnes, from on board the Arctic Sunrise, said:

“Norway is not as green as their image. With one hand, the government have signed the Paris Agreement and profiled themselves as an environmental champion, whilst handing out hundreds of new oil blocks in the Arctic with the other. They ignore and disrespect environmental, scientific recommendations and have offered the oil industry licenses in some of the most pristine areas of the Arctic. Now they have to answer for their actions in court.“

Within a month more than 150,000 people have joined the call to the Norwegian government to respect the Norwegian Constitution and The Paris Agreement, bringing the number to 355,000.


Notes to Editors

Photos from the protest can be seen here.

The full collection from The People vs. Arctic Oil ship tour can be seen here.

Read more here about the climate lawsuit and oil drilling in the Barents Sea


For interviews with activists and spokespersons on board:

Poul Bonke Justesen, communications lead, Greenpeace Nordic. Mobile: +45 2629 4938

Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected]  +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)