Activists from Greenpeace Nordic and Greenpeace Germany are today, February 27, 2017, protesting near a drilling rig, which is working for Statoil, in a fjord in northern Norway.
According to a Monday statement by the environmental organization, the activists – in kayaks near the rig – are peacefully protesting against Statoil and the Norwegian government for opening up a new oil frontier in the Arctic. The rig Songa Enabler is planned to drill further north in the Norwegian Arctic than ever before, the organization said.
To remind, Songa Offshore-owned Cat D rig Songa Enabler recently got its suspension lifted by the Norwegian oil giant Statoil. Instead of starting in April, the rig is now expected to start its operations in the Barents Sea at the beginning of March.
“This rig is heading off to sea to drill in the melting Arctic. Any new oil well is an unacceptable threat to the climate and puts people’s homes, health and families at risk. We demand that the Norwegian government and Statoil cease and desist all new operations in the Arctic,” said Truls Gulowsen, Head of Greenpeace Norway.
According to Greenpeace, for the first time in 20 years the Norwegian government is opening up a new oil frontier in the Arctic, allowing state-owned Statoil and 12 other oil companies to start exploration in the Barents Sea. Statoil is leading the charge and its rig is set to drill offshore in the far north Korpfjell license this summer, the organization added.
The organization further said: “This new oil drilling in the Arctic is violating the Norwegian constitution, which says that the State shall ensure future generations the right to a safe and healthy environment. Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth are set to prove this to the Oslo District Court on trial in November. So far more than 170,000 people have added their names to support the case.”
Namely, Greenpeace in October last year filed a lawsuit against the Norwegian government for allowing oil companies to drill for new oil in the Arctic Barents Sea and named the Norwegian state-owned Statoil as the central defendant in the case. The climate case against the Norwegian government has a trial set to start November 13.
This is the first court case that attempts to oppose drilling for new oil and gas in the Arctic based on the Norwegian constitution and the Paris Agreement, Greenpeace stated.
The environmental organization also noted that 13 oil companies have new license blocks in the Barents Sea, including: Statoil, Capricorn, Tullow and Centrica, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, DEA, Aker BP, Idemitsu, Lukoil, Lundin Petroleum, OMV, and PGNiG.
Offshore Energy Today reached out to Statoil seeking comment on the environmental group’s protest as well as the company’s operational plans for the rig.
While Statoil had no comment regarding the protest, a spokesperson for the company said the rig left Tromsø in Norway on Monday, heading to the offshore Snøhvit field to drill a production well. Following this, the plan is to move the rig on to the Blåmann prospect.
“We are satisfied we will now put the Songa Enabler rig to good use in the Barents Sea,” the spokesperson added.
Offshore Energy Today Staff