Greenpeace climbers halt BP oil rig bound for the North Sea

Greenpeace activists have boarded a BP oil rig halting its progress as it sails out to start drilling new oil wells off the coast of Scotland


Still and footage available here

At 6.30pm this evening a team of activists in boats drew up besides the 27,000 tonne rig as it attempted to leave Cromarty Firth under tow, north of Inverness. They scaled the structure to unfurl a banner declaring a “Climate Emergency”. The activists, who are currently occupying a gantry on a leg of the rig, below the main deck, are attempting to stop the platform reaching the Vorlich oil field where it hopes to access up to 30 million barrels of oil. They have provisions to stay in place for days.

The organisation is demanding that BP immediately end drilling new wells and switch to investing only in renewable energy. If BP does not do that, Greenpeace say, it should wind down its operations, return cash to investors and go out of business.

Scientists have been clear that we already have more oil and gas than we can safely burn under the Paris Agreement if we want to limit catastrophic climate change. Yet BP maintains its desire to both explore for more and expand its oil and gas production. This comes at the same time as the company bowed to pressure from shareholders by backing a motion at its AGM calling on them to demonstrate how it is aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Jo, a Greenpeace activist from Scotland currently aboard the rig, said:

“Warm words flow from BP on their commitment to tackling climate change. Yet this rig, and the 30 million barrels it seeks to drill, are a sure a sign that BP are committed to business as usual, fueling a climate emergency that threatens millions of lives and the future of the living world. We can’t let that happen – that’s why we’re here today.”

The Greenpeace protest comes a week after the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) approved new oil and gas projects by awarding 37 licence areas in the latest offshore licensing round. The approval threatens to result in scores of new projects at exactly the time we need to halt the growth of  new oil and gas production.

Jo continued:

“The Government may be bent on draining the North Sea of every last drop of oil but this clearly contradicts their climate commitments. The perverse idea we must maximise our oil and gas reserves cannot continue. That means the government must seriously reform the Oil & Gas Authority and instead invest heavily in the crucial work of helping oil communities like those in Scotland move from fossil fuels to the industries that will power our low carbon future.”

The Vorlich oil field is an area rich in wildlife, with BP’s own assessment identifying it as a key spawning ground for a host of fish populations, and is within 30km of two marine reserves.


Greenpeace UK Press Office – or +44 (0)7801 212 960

Pictures and footage of the action can be downloaded here.

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