Xena joins Greenpeace in fight against Statoil’s Barents Sea drilling

Image: Will Rose / Greenpeace

Eleven activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise took to the water in inflatable boats on Friday to protest against Statoil’s exploration activities in the Arctic Barents Sea, offshore Norway. 

The activists were joined by actress Lucy Lawless, known for her role in the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess. It is worth noting that this is not the first time for Lawless to join a protest against oil exploration.

Back in 2012, the actress was part of a group that boarded the Shell-operated drillship, the Noble Discoverer, preventing it from leaving New Zealand’s Port Taranaki for Alaska’s Chukchi sea. The actress and the rest of the group, who tried to prevent Shell from drilling in the Arctic, were arrested and charged with burglary.

Back to current events, the environmental group on Friday approached the Songa Enabler drilling rig that is currently operating for the Norwegian oil company Statoil. The Cat D rig is owned by Songa Offshore and its next target is the Gemini North license, located 275 km from the Finnmark coast. The license was awarded through the 23rd licensing round, challenged last October with a lawsuit by Greenpeace Constitution and the Norwegian organization Nature and Youth. The hearing is scheduled for November 14, 2017.

The lawsuit argued that the new oil licenses violated both the Paris Climate Agreement and paragraph 112 of the Norwegian Constitution, which commits the government “to safeguard the people’s right to a clean and healthy environment for future generations.”

Greenpeace said it considers Statoil’s drilling program in the Barents Sea this summer to be the world’s most aggressive and controversial drilling program this year.

According to the organization, Statoil will later also drill prospects Korpfjell and Koigen.

Statoil started its Barents Sea drilling campaign in May with the Blåmann well, which later turned out to be a small gas discovery. The oil company’s other Barents Sea well, named the Kayak, was also part of this year’s exploration campaign in the Barents Sea. The Kayak well also proved to be a discovery, totaling between 25 and 50 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents.

Following the Kayak well and the completion of the Blåmann well, the Songa Enabler headed to drill in the Gemini North prospect in license PL855, northeast of the Wisting discovery.

Offshore Energy Today Staff