STAVANGER, Norway – Greenpeace activists have boarded two drilling rigs preparing for offshore campaigns in the Arctic Circle.
Thirty occupied thejackupGSP Saturn in the Dutch port of Ijmuiden, although they were removed a few hours later.
Gazprom commissioned the rig for a program in the Pechora Sea off northernRussia.
A 15-strong Greenpeace team also boarded the semisubmersibleTransocean Spitsbergen which was heading to the Hoop area of the Barents Sea to drill the Statoil-operated Apollo prospect. The rig is around 300 km (186 mi) offshore.
Statoil says it is not authorized to drill into potential oil-bearing layers until Greenpeace’s complaint has been dealt with by Norway’s government.
Statoil said it respected the right for legal protests and added that it had been in dialogue with Greenpeace over the past few months. Its statement read: “We have informed about our exploration plans in theBarents Sea and the emergency response setup for the operations on several occasions, and Greenpeace has been given the opportunity to explain their views and ask questions.
“For Statoil the safety of people and the environment is the first priority, and we do not want activity that can increase the risk level. Greenpeace has been explained the risk associated with actions against a rig in open waters. When they still use this form of protest we believe they act irresponsibly and illegally.
“For us it is important to state that the Hoop area has been through an impact assessment and has been opened for petroleum activity by Norwegian authorities. Hoop is an area with known geology, low pressure and temperature, and where Statoil has robust plans for the operations. An oil spill is very unlikely, but at the same time we have put in place a number of barriers to be able to handle a situation should it occur.”
Greenpeace says it is seeking a ban on drilling for oil throughout the entireArctic region.