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Greenpeace occupy Arctic oil rig

Protesters say they have succeeded in stopping operations at the Baffin Bay oil rig off the coast of Greenland.

Image: via gp_espy via Twitpic edited by James Greenpeace UK

FOUR GREENPEACE CAMPAIGNERS have scaled a controversial offshore drilling rig in the Arctic and are claiming to have shut it down.

The campaigners say they evaded security boats, which have been guarding the rig in Baffin Bay since Greenpeace arrived in the area last week.

The rig is owned by Cairn Energy, a British oil company. Last week, Cairn excited multinational oil companies and dismayed environmentalists when it announced it had found natural gas deposits – which could be an indication of the presence of crude oil – in Baffin Bay off Greenland.

Greenpeace has said that it only needs to occupy the rig for a short period of time, as weather conditions will soon scupper the company’s chances of confirming the presence of oil:

If they are able to halt the drilling for just a short time, Cairn Energy will struggle to meet a tight deadline to complete its exploration before winter ice conditions force it to abandon the search for oil off Greenland until next year.

Explaining their reasons for the raid, Greenpeace write on their website:

If Cairn is successful the Arctic could be flooded with oil companies, all trying to operate in hazardous polar conditions. Analysts are expecting a whole new Arctic oil rush, with Exxon, Chevron and other energy giants already buying up licenses to drill in the area.

The implications for the area, which has populations of blue whales, polar bears, seals and migratory birds, could be devastating.

The organisation also claims that an accident in Baffin Bay could have an environmental fallout that would dwarf even the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as freezing temperatures would pose significant rescue and clean-up issues.

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Cairn Energy has not yet commented on the incident.

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