Photo: Greenpeace climbers on BP oil rig in Cromarty Firth, Scotland. The rig is the 'Paul B Loyd Jr', owned by Transocean, and on it's way to the Vorlich field where it was to be drilling new oil wells, operated by BP, paying £140,000 a day for its use. BP is the operator, Transocean the owner, the same as the Deepwater Horizon.

Greenpeace brings in new team of activists on BP rig after arrests

A fresh team of Greenpeace activists has re-boarded a Transocean-owned rig in Scotland hired by BP for UK North Sea operations just hours after Police Scotland declared the occupation over.

Greenpeace activists started their protest against BP’s offshore drilling plans in the UK sector of the North Sea on Sunday by boarding Transocean’s Paul B. Loyd, Jr. just as the rig was set to leave the Cromarty Firth.

A couple of days later, in an effort to stop the protest, BP and Transocean served the activists with an injunction order. However, Greenpeace brought in fresh supplies along with new climbers.

Come Thursday and Scotland police started its attempts to remove the activists occupying the rig. In a statement on Thursday Greenpeace said that the rig workers had informed the activist that the rig would be lowered 20 meters into the sea to allow the police access by boat. One Greenpeace activist was in a portaledge attached to the anchor chain in an attempt to thwart the removal efforts.

On Thursday night, police boats and climbers managed to remove two Greenpeace activists who had spent over 70 hours blocking the rig from leaving Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness. But just after 4am on Friday morning, two new climbers boarded the structure and climbed up to a gantry on one of the legs.

“Rig workers notified the activists of an interdict – the Scottish law equivalent of an injunction – preventing them from accessing the rig, but Greenpeace is continuing the occupation in defiance of the injunction,” Greenpeace said in a statement on Friday.

Two climbers remain in custody

The occupation started on Sunday evening and has now seen three separate climbing teams working in shifts to prevent the rig from reaching the Volrich field, where it plans to drill a well giving BP access to 30 million barrels of oil.

Greenpeace UK’s executive director, John Sauven, said: “Our climbers are back on the oil rig and determined to stay for as long as possible. BP are heading out to drill a new well giving them access to 30 million barrels of oil – something we can’t afford in the middle of a climate emergency.

“We can’t give up and let oil giants carry on with business as usual because that means giving up on a habitable planet and our kids’ future. The UK government has announced a target of net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 – we have started to enforce it.”

According to the environmental organization, the two climbers arrested last night remain in custody and should appear in court today.

At its last AGM, BP’s shareholders voted in favor of Climate Action 100+ shareholder resolution on climate change disclosures, but have rejected Follow This shareholder resolution on emission targets.

“Yet BP is still planning to expand its oil and gas production at a time when it needs to be dramatically reduced. Greenpeace argues the business models of companies like BP are in direct opposition to efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change,” Greenpeace said.