Greenpeace, Statoil in another Arctic drilling spat

“The threat  to nearby nature reserve Bear Island is still not over”, Greenpeace has warned today, after it has been announced that Statoil failed to find oil at the Apollo well in the Barents Sea.

“Although the Apollo well is dry, the threat that Statoil poses to Bear Island and the rest of the Arctic remains as real as ever. Statoil are planning to drill two more wells in this area, so we will continue to use all democratic options to stop these drillings, which are a threat to the Arctic nature and the world’s climate,” says Erlend Tellnes, Arctic Campaigner in Greenpeace Nordic.

Statoil’s northernmost drilling in the Hoop area in the Barents Sea received a lot of attention when Greenpeace in late May occupied first the Transocean Spitsbergen oil rig, and then Statoil’s exact drill site for a total of 90 hours, in a protest against Arctic oil drilling.

Related: Dry well at Statoil’s Apollo prospect

Statoil has licenses to drill two more wells in the same area, «Atlantis» and «Mercury», and the rig Transocean Spitsbergen is currently on its way to the «Atlantis» well.

“Greenpeace has lodged a complaint to this drilling, and Statoil are not allowed to start drilling into oil layers until the complaint has been decided,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

“The minister for climate and environment now has another chance to stop these risky drilling plans. We know that an oil spill in this area would pose a huge threat to the nature reserve Bear Island and the wildlife there. I hope Tine Sundtoft will listen to the more than 135 000 people who ask her to protect Bear Island and stop these drillings,” says Erlend Tellnes.

“Statoil’s reckless drive into the Arctic carries huge risks, especially if the inevitable oil spill close to the ice edge were to happen. Having spent millions of dollars drilling a dry well, Statoil’s Arctic plans are already starting to unravel and investors must be getting increasingly concerned.”

Related: Norway rejects Greenpeace appeal. Statoil given final Apollo nod

“Statoil’s drill plans in the Hoop area in the Barents Sea are part of Statoil’s aggressive Arctic race, making Statoil the most aggressive company in the Arctic. Statoil is the only company with licenses in all Arctic states, in extreme and icy areas. As long as Statoil continue their aggressive Arctic race, we will do all we can to stop them.”

In its statements regarding the Greenpeace protests over its drilling plans in the area, Statoil has said that the probability of “an oil spill happening is extremely low, since there are robust plans in place for the operation, and we are operating in familiar waters,” adding that if an oil spill were to occur, the first oil booms (NOFO system) would be on the water in less than two hours, and more systems would be mobilised rapidly.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, June 20, 2014

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