Greenpeace Activists Climb Shell's Offshore Platform in Protest
(Bloomberg) -- Greenpeace activists have boarded two Royal Dutch Shell Plc offshore platforms in the Brent field in the U.K. North Sea to protest decommissioning plans they claim will leave “hazardous oily sludge” in the sea.
The oil major has asked for reprieve from international rules, and sought permission to leave some massive structures in the sea because removing them would pose a greater environmental risk. Greenpeace has opposed the plans because the platform “legs” that Shell wants to leave behind contains oily sediments.
A team of Greenpeace activists climbed the Brent Alpha and Bravo platforms and hung two banners saying “Shell, clean up your mess!” and “Stop Ocean Pollution,” the group said in a statement on Monday.
“The U.K. government cannot claim to be a global oceans champion while allowing Shell to dump thousands of tons of oil waste in the North Sea,” said Doug Parr, Greenpeace U.K.’s chief scientist. “If ministers allow Shell to bend the rules, this will set a dangerous precedent.”
Shell confirmed two protesters boarded the Brent Alpha platform and another climbed onto the concrete leg of Bravo. “Their safety and that of our workers are our prime concern at this moment,” a spokesman said.
The company, which operates the Brent oil and gas field as part of a joint venture with Exxon Mobil Corp., is shutting down older equipment as reservoirs deplete. Following a public consultation between February and April 2017, Shell said it would be safer and more cost effective to leave some parts of the platforms in place because the remaining oil in the structures has a low risk of contaminating the sea.
“Our recommendations are the result of more than 300 scientific and technical studies,” the Shell spokesman said by email. “These were reviewed by an independent group of eminent scientists to ensure the research was sound and that all feasible decommissioning options were thoroughly investigated.”
The U.K. government has the authority to approve Shell’s plans, but is required to first consult with other members of the ocean protection group OSPAR. Germany and the Netherlands have raised concerns about Shell’s plan. Government officials from the group’s 15 European countries are scheduled to meet in London on Friday to discuss Brent decommissioning, though Britain isn’t bound by its recommendations.
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