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Greenpeace Ship Arrives At Arctic Drill Site, Statoil Rig Just Hours Away

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OSLO, May 29 (Reuters) - A Greenpeace ship arrived on Thursday at the Arctic location where Norway's Statoil is planning to drill the world's most northerly oil well, ahead of the company's rig which was making its way to the site.

By late afternoon the rig was approaching the ship. "It is within sight, it is standing by," said Greenpeace's Truls Gulowsen.

Earlier in the day, Norwegian police had removed seven Greenpeace protesters who had boarded the rig to stop it getting to the Barents Sea and Bear Island, an uninhabited wildlife sanctuary which is home to rare species, including polar bears.

Greenpeace, which calls Statoil an "Arctic aggressor", wants to stop oil firms drilling further north than ever before as the Arctic ice retreats and a relaxing of the law allows companies to work in areas where winter ice was common just decades ago.

"The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is blocking the arrival of Statoil's Transocean Spitsbergen oil rig in the Arctic by occupying the exact location where the company plans to drill the world's northernmost well," the group said a statement.

The activists taken off the rig - from Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Philippines and Sweden - were released without charge and were all well, Gulowsen said.

One Finnish woman among them had been in the group of 30 Greenpeace activists detained by Russian authorities for two months for climbing aboard an Arctic oil rig last September.

Gulowsen said there were people from 16 different nations aboard the Esperanza.

The Statoil rig will not be able to start full drilling operations until Norway's government decides on a Greenpeace appeal against it.

"Statoil has a permit to start the drilling operations, but awaits a final decision on a Greenpeace appeal to the Norwegian Ministry of climate and environment before drilling into oil-bearing layers," said the firm.

It is unclear how long the appeal could take.

(Editing by Stephen Addison)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


Post a Comment Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Bob | Jun. 1, 2014
The ice is not "retreating" it is at it historical normal and there is no AGW. Drill baby drill. Greenpeace can suck lemons.

John West | May. 31, 2014
The trig owners are putting the rig on the already drilled site and they are waiting for approval? I would say they are putting up with Green Peace nonsense for a bit longer to show that they what Green Peace thinks. They and most of us ... dont give a damn about GP and the loons who think we can run a modern over-populated society with windmills. "Drill Baby Drill" - Sarah Palin

Tamarax | May. 31, 2014
Sink it. And then drill baby, drill.

Iggy Slanter | May. 31, 2014
Nuke the commies from space. Its the only way to be sure

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