Greenpeace Again Scales Oil Rig

kumi naidoo, greenpeace

LONDON—The head of Greenpeace has scaled an oil rig offshore of Greenland operated by Cairn Energy PLC, defying a court order aimed at stopping activists from further disrupting the oil and gas explorer’s controversial Arctic drilling campaign, the environmental group said Friday.

“International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo has entered an exclusion zone to scale [the rig]. He is now demanding that the rig’s master orders an immediate halt to drilling, and is requesting a copy of the rig’s missing oil spill response plan,” said Greenpeace.

Cairn confirmed that members of the organization had breached the exclusion zone and scaled the Leiv Eriksson semi-submersible drilling vessel earlier

Friday, but said they had been removed by Greenland authorities and operations weren’t affected.

An injunction granted to Cairn by an Amsterdam court last week prohibits Greenpeace from coming within 500 meters of Cairn’s rigs for a period of six months. Having contravened the order, Greenpeace now faces paying the Edinburgh-based explorer damages of €50,000 a day.

Greenpeace says Cairn’s drilling campaign risks damaging the region’s fragile ecosystem. It argues an oil spill would be “all but impossible” to clean up and has demanded to see Cairn’s spill-response plans, which haven’t been made public.

“Cairn respects the rights of individuals and organizations to express their views in a safe and peaceful manner but is concerned with any action that presents a risk to the safety of people and/or equipment,” said Cairn.

By Alexis Flynn, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.