Greenpeace activists board oil platform in Arctic Norway

Greenpeace activists approach the West Hercules oil rig near Hammerfest, Arctic Norway, April 29, 2019. (Jonne Sippola/Greenpeace/Handout via Reuters)
Four representatives of Greenpeace jumped onboard oil rig West Hercules as it was being made ready for the drilling of one of the northernmost ever wells.

“Stop drilling in the Arctic,” a banner raised by activists onboard the West Hercules reads. The environmentalists on Monday morning paddled with kayaks to the installation that was moored on the waterfront of Hammerfest, the Norwegian Arctic town.

“Norwegian oil is boiling the earth,” a second banner reads. “People vs oil” and “the people against oil,” more banners read.

“We are in a climate crisis that demands that we actually do something,” activist Camilla Lennerthson says in a statement. “I am here and do what I can to tell the Norwegian government that if we are to keep our planet livable over the next years, then we have to stop looking for new oil,” she underlines.

Greenpeace activists boarding the West Hercules oil rig near Hammerfest, Arctic Norway, April 29, 2019. (Jonne Sippola/Greenpeace/Handout via Reuters)

The West Hercules is owned and operated by company Seadrill and is now getting ready for a drilling operation in the northern parts of the Barents Sea. The installation will in May be towed about 420 km north of the Norwegian coast to one of the northernmost license areas in Norwegian waters. The Korpfjell area is located on 74 degrees north and is operated by Equinor.

Experts believe the area could hold major hydrocarbon reserves.

It will be the second well drilled in the area. In 2017, the Norwegian oil company drilled in the area with rig Songa Enabler. Also back then did environmentalists from Greenpeace take action against the rig.

“To drill for oil in the Arctic, now when the region is melting more quickly than ever before, is madness,” says leader of Greenpeace Norway, Frode Pleym. He underlines that the protest is a strictly non-violence action.

The boarding of the West Hercules comes just few days after the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority issued an announcement about serious technical irregularities on board the installation. According to the oil safety watchdog, there are several “comprehensive breaches” of national regulations. In addition, owner Seadrill has failed to follow up previous reported breaches.

The West Hercules was built in 2008 and has drilled a number of wells in Arctic waters.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Premier of Northern Canadian territory frustrated by slow oil and gas development, CBC News

Finland: The world could transition entirely to cheap, safe renewable energy before 2050: Finnish study, Yle News

Norway: Norway expands Arctic drilling while promising emissions cuts, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Gazprom launches construction of giant gas field in Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. Interior Dept. delays offshore drilling plan: report, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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