[QODLink]
Europe
Greenpeace board Russian oil rig in Arctic
Group says drilling plans by energy giant Gazprom in the area are "dangerous" and should be permanently abandoned.
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2012 21:32
Greenpeace activists say they have taken supplies to last them 'several days' [File: Al Jazeera]

Six Greenpeace activists have boarded a Russian offshore oil rig in protest against gas and oil exploration in the Arctic, the group says.

The activists, who included the organisation's executive director Kumi Naidoo, reached the Prirazlomnaya platform by speedboat early on Friday.

"The only way to prevent a catastrophic oil spill from happening in this unique environment is to permanently ban all drilling now"

- Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace global chief 

They say they have enough supplies to last "several days".

The activists are protesting against Russia's drilling in the area, calling the plans "dangerous" and asking for it to be abandoned. 

They say that an oil spill in the Arctic region could be "catastrophic" as the extreme conditions are likely to stall any emergency operations.

Three inflatable speedboats had approached the platform after 4am local time to let the six activists climb it via mooring lines using ropes and ladders, the group said.

The activists have taken portable tents, along with the supplies, said a witness aboard a Greenpeace ship about 6km away from the platform.

The Prirazlomnoye field, Russia's first Arctic offshore development, has been plagued by delays due to cost overruns and platform construction difficulties, with oil now expected to flow at the turn of the year.

The Russian energy giant Gazprom and Gazprom Neft Shelf, a subsidiary holding the Prirazlomnoye license, declined immediate comment.

'Ban all drilling'

Prirazlomnoye is estimated to hold reserves of 526 million barrels and success in launching Arctic oil exploration is seen as vital to sustaining Russia's long-term status as the world's second biggest oil producer.

Environment campaigners warn that remoteness, fragile ecosystems, darkness, sub-zero temperatures, ice, high winds, and other environmental conditions could stall emergency operations in the case of a spill.

"The only way to prevent a catastrophic oil spill from happening in this unique environment is to permanently ban all drilling now," said Naidoo.

Greenpeace will seek to promote a resolution at the UN General Assembly that would declare the Arctic part of the global commons, Naidoo said earlier this month in Moscow.

The global commons includes those parts of the Earth's surface beyond national jurisdictions.  

Naidoo said that this would prevent any drilling there.

373

Source:
Agencies
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.