|One of the Arctic 30 Faiza Oulahsen described it as a dark day for the Arctic that Gazprom have started producing oil from Prirazlomnaya oil platform she was involved in protesting against. Photo credit: Greenpeace.|
By Anders Lorenzen
The long running Greenpeace Arctic 30 saga seems to have concluded on Wednesday, as the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists were granted amnesty. The target of the initial Greenpeace action, the Russian oil and gas company Gazprom, just announced that it has produced the first commercial oil from the Prirazlomnaya Arctic oil platform which was the scene of the Greenpeace protests now more than three months ago.
Earlier, in a video released by Greenpeace USA, the US members of the Arctic 30 expressed relief at the decision to grant them amnesty. Though Greenpeace are far from satisfied; one of the Arctic 30, Greenpeace campaigner Dima Litvinov, hinted that the Arctic had not been granted an amnesty and the threat the region faces is more serious than ever before. Captain of the ship, Peter Wilcox, added as the non-Russian crew will start to leave Russia, there was an increasing worry of the Russian crew onboard the ship, as their future remains insecure. They will still have to continue their lives in Russia, possibly restricted and with a criminal record. Greenpeace also stated that while the Arctic 30 had been granted amnesty, they had still been accused of a crime they did not commit.
Another of the Arctic 30, Faiza Oulahsen from the Netherlands, added that it was a dark day for the Arctic:
“This is a dark day for the Arctic. Gazprom is the first company on Earth to pump oil from beneath icy Arctic waters and yet its safety record on land is appalling. It is impossible to trust them to drill safely in one of the most fragile and beautiful regions on Earth. This is why I have spent the last two months of my life in jail, but I am just one of millions who oppose this reckless oil rush. We must stop this trickle of Arctic oil before it becomes a flood.”
Greenpeace added that by undertaking oil exploration in the Arctic you are taking part in a reckless gamble with the Arctic environment:
“The offshore Arctic is the most inhospitable operating environment imaginable. Freezing temperatures, thick ice, months of perpetual twilight, giant storms and hurricane-force winds pose a unique technical risk to any oil company. There is no proven way of cleaning oil spilled in ice and even a small accident would have devastating consequences on the Arctic’s fragile and little-understood environment’’.
In related news, the Greenlandic government have handed out oil and gas drilling licenses to the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. Drilling licenses were handed out in four areas to some well-known and less well-known companies: Shell, BP, Chevron, Statoil, Dong, ConocoPhillips, ENI, GreenPex and Nunaoil were all handed licenses for exploration of hydrocarbons in the Greenland Sea by Minister for Industry and Mineral Resources Jens-Erik Kirkegaard.
Sub edited by Charlotte Paton