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Shell seeks injunction as Greenpeace activists board Arctic oil rig



Oil giant Shell is seeking an injunction after six Greenpeace activists boarded an oil rig to protest Arctic drilling. The demonstration comes as Shell agrees to but rival oil and gas exploration firm BG Group for £47 billion.

The demonstration from Greenpeace follows the US government approving Shell’s drilling lease for the Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan Arctic. In protest six Greenpeace activists boarded the Polar Pioneer, which is one of the vessels Shell intends to use to conduct the drilling.

Johno Smith, from New Zealand and one of the six to board Polar Pioneer, said, “We’re here to highlight that in less than 100 days Shell is going to the Arctic to drill for oil. This pristine environment needs protecting for future generations and all life that will come to call it home.

“But instead Shell’s actions are exploiting the melting ice to increase a manmade disaster. Climate change is real and already inflicting pain and suffering on my brothers and sisters in the Pacific.”

Smith added that he believed by taking action to highlight Shell’s plans in the Arctic more people would be encouraged to take a stand against companies seeking to “destroy this planet for profit”.

Since the activists board the rig Shell has filed a legal complaint seeking an injunction. In a statement the Anglo-Dutch company said boarding a moving vessel on the high seas was “extremely dangerous” and put both workers on the rig and the protesters at risk.

The company described the move by Greenpeace as “far from peaceful demonstrations”.

In response to the injunction, Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA executive director, commented, “This injunction is Shell’s latest attempt to keep people from standing up for the Arctic. Shell thinks it can do whatever it wants, but there’s one thing the company still clearly fears – ordinary people standing up to save the Arctic. Shell wants activist off its rig. We want Shell out of the Arctic.”

Shell filed the lawsuit as it also negotiated with rival firm BG Group to buy the company. The two firms have agreed on a deal that valued BG at £47 billion and will give investors a share offer of a 50% premium on BG’s share price on April 7.

Photo: Ryan McFarland via Flickr

Further reading:

ShareAction warns investors over Shell’s Arctic drilling plans

Shell seeks Arctic drilling licence extension

US bans Shell from Arctic drilling until safety fears are eliminated

Shell pulls out of Arctic drilling in 2013 amid safety fears