New Zealand: ‘Xena’ Hampers Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plans

New Zealand: Xena Hampers Shell's Arctic Plans

Seven Greenpeace activists yesterday boarded a Shell operated drillship, the Noble Discoverer, thus preventing it from leaving New Zealand’s Port Taranaki for Alaska’s Chukchi sea, where the oil giant plans to drill three exploration wells.

Lucy Lawless, an actress famous for her leading role in “Xena: Warrior Princess” TV series, boarded the drillship as a member of the Greenpeace team, and occupied it along with six other climbers.

“I’m blocking Shell’s Arctic drillship because I believe passionately that renewable energy is the way of the future,” said Lucy Lawless. “We don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to suck out every last drop of oil. Instead we need to smarten up and begin the transition to a clean, green, sustainable energy future and right now that means keeping Shell out of the Arctic.”

Nathan Argent, a Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner, said the activists were taking action to prevent Shell from drilling in the Arctic, where “an oil spill would devastate the fragile environment, and be impossible to clean up”.

Argent added that a catastrophe offshore Alaska would be worse than the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Shell said that the company was disappointed that Greenpeace chose such method to protest.

“Actions such as this jeopardize the safety of everyone involved. While we respect the right of individuals to express their point of view, the priority should be the safety of Noble Discoverer’s personnel and that of the protestors. Shell has taken unprecedented steps to pursue safe, environmentally responsible exploration in shallow water off the coast of Alaska. We recognize that industry’s license to operate in the offshore is predicated on being able to operate in a safe, environmentally sound manner. Shell’s commitment to those basic principles is unwavering. Shell’s Alaska Exploration Plans and Oil Spill Response Plans are guided by our extensive Arctic expertise, solid scientific understanding of the environment and world-class capabilities,” reads Shell’s statement.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, February 24, 2012; Image: Greenpeace