Russia Charges 30 with Piracy Over Greenpeace Arctic Protest

Putin said last month that the Greenpeace activists were clearly not pirates but that they had violated international law. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that concern for the environment could not justify illegal activity.

Gazprom unit Gazprom Neft Shelf said in an email to Reuters that the company is on track to begin oil production at Prirazlomnoye, the project which is served by the Prirazlomnaya platform, by the end of the year.

Gazprom has cited technical reasons for past delays to the start of production at Prirazlomnoye, which has estimated reserves of 526 million barrels of oil, and the firm expects to reach peak production of 120,000 barrels per day in 7-8 years.

Greenpeace believes efforts to drill in the Arctic for fossil fuels that contribute to climate change and ice melt are "a vicious circle we need to break", said Ben Ayliffe, head of the group's Arctic oil campaign.

He said that there is no known way of effectively cleaning up an oil spill in ice and that research showed that a major disaster at Prirazlomnaya could pollute over 3,000 kilometres (nearly 1,900 miles) of coastline.

"Gazprom is simply not prepared to deal with an oil spill at Prirazlomnaya," he said.

Gazprom said in the email that it was capable of tackling any possible spills at the project.


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