Stavanger, Norway, 30 August 2022 – Activists from Greenpeace Nordic, Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil undertook a peaceful blockade of Norwegian oil giant Equinor’s garden party, a big event during the ONS oil and gas trade fair. The activists demand an end to Equinor’s plans to establish the world’s northernmost oil field, Wisting.
The activists blocked the road leading to the company’s headquarters, as well as the main entrance to Equinor’s office where the garden party takes place. Their message to the hundreds of VIPs present is “Stop the oil party – Stop Wisting”. Approximately two-thirds of the 900 invitees turned around and left the line to enter the party, which was sealed off for more than one and a half hours.
One of the activists taking part in the activity was Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway.
“We want to make it abundantly clear to Equinor and all of their influential guests that it is absolutely shameful to partake in oil-celebrating, over-the-top garden parties while we find ourselves in the midst of a climate crisis, as well as an energy crisis with millions of Europeans facing energy poverty this winter. We will not accept new oil fields, such as Wisting, while the world is heating up at record speeds. We will not give up until Equinor cancels Wisting, as well as all other new oil plans, and focuses on renewables,” said Pleym.
The activists’ primary demand is for Equinor to immediately halt plans for the Wisting oil field in the Arctic’s Barents Sea – a controversial oil field which, if approved, will become the world’s northernmost drill site. In addition, they refer to the International Energy Agency and the IPCC, both having stated that new oil drilling is incompatible with the 1.5-degree temperature target.
Jonas Kittelsen, activist and spokesperson with Extinction Rebellion, said:
“We must stop all oil exploration to secure a viable future. But in spite of that, Equinor works around the clock to get approval for the scandalous project Wisting in a vulnerable Arctic area, which will surpass any carbon budget. On top of that, they are celebrating. More despicable behaviour is hard to find. That’s why I’m getting in the way.”
In order to stop the party from happening, a group of activists blocked the road leading to the entrance of the event by sitting down, hindering the guests from arriving by car. Thereafter, another group of activists chained themselves in front of the party’s main entrance, unveiling banners calling for the end of both the Wisting field and “the oil party”.
Pictures and videos from the action can be found here.
Contact on site:
Aud Hegli Nordø, Communications Manager at Greenpeace Norway
[email protected] / +47 41470649
Jonas Kittelsen, Spokesperson for XR Norway
+47 454 44 427
About the Wisting oil field:
- The Norwegian Environment Agency has warned that Equinor’s deadline to reach the requirements needed to get covered by the oil tax policy was tight. When Equinor presented its impact assessment, the agency scolded the company’s work.
- The Wisting field contains 500 million barrels of oil, which amounts to 200 million tonnes of CO2 upon combustion – the same amount as Norway’s total emissions for four years.
- The field’s location in the Arctic is close to the vulnerable ice edge zone, which The Norwegian Polar Institute has nicknamed “Norway’s little rainforest”. Part of the Environment Agency’s harsh criticism of Equinor’s impact assessment had to do with a severely insufficient plan for oil recovery preparedness. The Agency stated that this was especially concerning due to the field’s location.
- The field is also controversial in its local county of Finnmark. Since the oil field must be operated with land-based electricity, several local business owners have expressed concern that it will steal the local power surplus, threaten the establishment of new, green industries, and not even provide new jobs locally.
- The Wisting oil field has been controversial for some time. While not initially considered profitable by Equinor, an investor-friendly oil tax policy launched by the Norwegian government during the covid-19 pandemic means lower financial risk for the oil company, thus making it profitable for Equinor as a company.