With help from Shell, Gazprom could start drilling in the Arctic any day now
by Nicky Davies
December 10, 2013
© Steve Morgan / Greenpeace
Any day now, with the help of Shell, a company called Gazprom will extract the first drops of oil from below the Russian Arctic.
Shell is hoping to follow in the footsteps of its Russian partner by doing the same thing off the coast of Alaska this summer. This is the moment. If we don’t stop these oil companies now, the floodgates will open to Arctic oil and one of the last remaining unspoiled places on earth will be changed forever.
Theres one person who has the power to stop both companies. His name is Ben van Beurden, and he will be taking over as CEO of Shell Oil in January.
Why would Van Beurden listen to this? Because hes joining the company following a calamitously failed expedition last year that left investors questioning the unnecessary risks posed by drilling in the Arctic. Shells investors want to make money, not take risks. And Van Beurdens bosses, the board, want investors to be happy.
There is no way to safely drill in the Arctic. There is no way for van Beurden to make that promise to his investors.
Gazprom, Shells Arctic drilling partner, is a Russian state-owned oil company notorious for one thing: Oil spills.
Gazprom is responsible for 206 oil spills on land in the last two years alone! With Shells recent spectacularly failed attempt to drill in Alaska last year and Gazproms habit of spilling oil everywhere it tries, this partnership is a disaster waiting to happen.
By ending Shells shady partnership with Gazprom, Ben van Beurden has a real chance to start his tenure as CEO off with a clean record and make his investors happy at the same time. And for the Arctic, it represents the best opportunity weve had yet to protect it once and for all.
Gazprom cant do this without Shells help. By canceling its dangerous Arctic drilling program, Shell will send a clear signal to other oil companies that Arctic oil just isnt worth the risk.
These risky plans from Shell and Gazprom are the reason why 28 activists and two independent journalists were peacefully protesting Arctic drilling in September before they were seized by Russian special forces. The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was boarded at gunpoint, the crew detained and thrown in jail. They potentially face many, many years in Russian prisons.
Despite all of that, Greenpeace’s resolve has not waivered. We are committed to stopping Shell and Gazprom from destroying the Arctic. With your support, we know it is possible.