EU's Tallest Building Scaled to Protest Arctic Drilling

Six Greenpeace activists were scaling London's Shard, the European Union's tallest building, Thursday morning in a protest against oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.

The environmental organization said it chose the building partly because it is modeled on a shard of ice, but also because it sits directly in the middle of Royal Dutch Shell's three London headquarters. "They don't want us talking about their plan to drill in the Arctic. We're here to shout about it from the rooftops," said a statement on the Greenpeace Web site. 

Greenpeace has been running a campaign for several months specifically targeted against Shell's Arctic drilling plans.

After Shell met problems earlier this year when preparing to drill in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's northern coast, Greenpeace is now targeting its relationship with Russia's Gazprom after the two companies signed a framework agreement covering projects on Russia's Arctic Shelf.

In a statement Thursday a Shell spokesman said: "We respect the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange of views about our operations. Recognising the right of individuals to express their point of view, we only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others, including Shell personnel and customers in mind."

The spokesman added: "Oil and gas production from the Arctic is not new. The Arctic region currently produces about 10% of the world’s oil and 25% of its gas. If responsibly developed, Arctic energy resources can help offset supply constraints and maintain energy security for consumers throughout the world.

"Shell has been operating in the Arctic and sub-Arctic since the early 20th century, giving us the technical experience and know-how to explore for and produce oil and gas responsibly. We work extensively with global Arctic stakeholders to research and develop standards and best practice on biodiversity, ecology, marine sound, oil spill prevention and response, safety and health."

By 11:15am London time, the six women protestors had climbed 100 meters of the 310-meter building.

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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