GALLERY: Greenpeace boards West Hercules rig in Norway

Greenpeace “kayaktivists” have boarded the oil rig West Hercules at the Skipavika yard on the west coast of Norway.

Greenpeace said on Thursday that two activists were on the rig and requested a meeting with the rig’s captain while ten others were in the water protesting.

The semi-submersible drilling rig is contracted by Statoil to drill two exploration wells (and five optional) in the Barents Sea this summer and is also being challenged in the ongoing climate change case against the Norwegian Government for opening up new areas in the Arctic for oil drilling.

Greenpeace demanded that Statoil suspended all drilling until there was a final verdict. Nature and Youth and Greenpeace appealed the judgment of the Oslo District Court on February 5th, 2018, and it is therefore not yet final.

The case was brought against the Norwegian Government for granting new oil licenses to drill in the Arctic Barents Sea. The Oslo District Court initially ruled in favor of the government back in January.

Related: Statoil chooses West Hercules rig for Barents Sea campaign


Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace Norway, said: “The amount of oil and gas that has already been found is more than the climate can withstand, so it is pointless and dangerous to look for more. Nevertheless, Statoil is preparing for a massive oil exploration operation in the Barents Sea.”

It is worth noting that Greenpeace Norway holds four shares in Statoil and has, as a shareholder, submitted a request at the company’s annual general meeting in May that they stop exploration drilling.

Also, Greenpeace said it was skeptical about Statoil changing its name to “Equinor“, as the oil company suggested recently, because “it creates the illusion that Statoil is going green while still sending oil rigs north to look for new oil.”

Gulowsen added: “Statoil now has a unique opportunity to show that the company’s proposal to change its name to Equinor is more than just expensive greenwashing. Whatever they call themselves, oil will still stain their name if they continue to pursue drilling in the Barents Sea and are involved in several highly controversial oil projects around the world.

“They must cancel plans for exploration drilling at Korpfjell and Gjøkåsen over the summer, for the climate and environmental reasons, and also because the oil wells are subject to a legal challenge.”

Korpfjell Deep is located in the northernmost area opened for oil exploration in Norway, close to the ice edge and within the what Greenpeace says is “vulnerable polar front.”

Greenpeace said there were often many birds in the area and that the bird density and vulnerability in the area meant that any oil spills might cause major ecological damage in a short period of time.

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