15 Greenpeace activists boarded the Transocean Spitsbergen semi-submersible drilling rig this morning in protest of Statoil’s arctic drilling plans and the environmental threat posed to Bear Island, a remote nature reserve located 98 miles to the northwest of the proposed well site in the Barents Sea.
Statoil gained approval on Monday from the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment to commence drilling operation at the Apollo prospect in the Hoop area located at 73°51’47.90″ north and 24°32’29.90″ east. The company notes the Hoop area is an area with “known geology, low pressure and temperature” and presents a low risk for an oil spill.
Nevertheless, Statoil will not be permitted to drill into oil-bearing layers until the complaint from Greenpeace has been dealt with by the ministry.
Statoil notes that dialogue between Greenpeace has been ongoing over the past few months, yet this recent protest was performed “irresponsibly and illegally.”
The rig is owned by Transocean and is on contract to Statoil.