Greenpeace Protestors Scale Exxon Rig in Norway

Greenpeace chose the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill to highlight what it believes is a risky joint venture between Exxon and Rosneft in the Russian Arctic, where the companies plan to drill in the Kara Sea this summer. As part of a protest against the planned drilling in the Kara Sea, the environmental organization on Monday sent a team of its activists to scale Exxon's West Alpha (mid-water semisub) rig in the Norwegian port of Olen.

The environmental organization made the point that the Exxon Valdex spill, in Prince William Sound, Alaska, was at the time the largest oil spill in American history – with 11 million gallons of oil released. 

Greenpeace Executive Director John Sauven commented in a statement Monday:

"25 years ago today the world woke up to the shocking images of eleven million gallons of oil washing up on the Alaskan shoreline. In its wake, the oil spill left hundreds of thousands of dead birds and other wildlife. Today the impact of that disaster is still felt and those effects should stand as a huge warning beacon for the international community that oil and the Arctic just don't mix.
"The Arctic and surrounding environment simply can’t withstand oil spills like the Exxon Valdez. Surely, today of all days, the time has come for those who wish to exploit the fossil fuel reserves in the Arctic recognise that the risk is just too great."

The latest protest follows last September's boarding of a Gazprom oil platform in the Russian Arctic, which led to the arrest and detention of some 30 activists.


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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