Shell Wins Court Ruling Banning Activists From North Sea Oil Platforms

greenpeace brent protest
Greenpeace protesters scale the legs of the Brent Bravo platform in the North Sea, October 14, 2019. Photo courtesy Greenpeace

By Olivia Konotey-Ahulu (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc won a court ruling preventing environmental protesters from boarding unmanned oil installations in the North Sea.

Greenpeace activists in October boarded two of Shell’s offshore platforms in the Brent field to protest decommissioning plans they claimed will leave “hazardous oily sludge” in the sea. A judge in Edinburgh, Scotland, said that the protesters had no right to enter the installations, and are now banned from going within a 500-meter (1,640-feet) safety zone around the platforms.

“This is a setback, but the public will understand the real concern here is Shell’s plan,” Meike Rijksen, a Greenpeace campaigner, said in a statement. “We will continue to fight alongside experts and governments against Shell’s intention to dump 11,000 tons of oil in the North Sea.”

Shell said it sought the court order “only to prevent protesters breaching the statutory 500-meter safety zones around platforms in the Brent field, putting themselves and Shell staff at risk.”

The oil major has asked for a reprieve from international rules, and sought permission to leave some massive structures in the sea as part of the process of closing the Brent fields. Shell claims that it would be safer and more cost effective to leave some parts of the platforms in place because the remaining oil in the structures has a low risk of contaminating the sea.

But Greenpeace opposed the company’s plan saying the platform “legs” contain oily sediments that would eventually leak into the sea.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P