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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Greenpeace occupies oil rig bound for Arctic

Imagine how easy it will be in an emergency in the distant Arctic when something goes wrong.

Activists are demanding an end to reckless deepwater oil drilling and taking bold action to stop the oil rig Leiv Eiriksson as it departs Turkey to the Arctic waters of Greenland to begin drilling.

In the early hours of the morning activists began their mission to intercept the oil rig as it attempted to leave Besiktas port near Istanbul and head to the Arctic to start exploratory drilling. Eleven activists scaled the 53,000 tonne rig to impede its progress and are prepared for a sustained occupation, with sufficient supplies to last for days.

The Leiv Eiriksson is operated by Cairn Energy and is the only rig in the world currently set to begin new deep sea drilling in the Arctic – making it a clear and present danger to the pristine arctic environment. Sound familiar? If it does it is because we’ve told you about Cairn energy and their quest for Arctic drilling before. Read about how activists stopped Cairn energy from drilling last year.

Extreme arctic weather conditions mean that Cairn has a very short window to drill four new exploratory wells at staggering depths of around 1500m – these are similar depths to the ill-fated BP Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. Freezing temperatures, severe weather and a highly remote location pose unprecedented challenges to any oil spill response in the Arctic and mean a spill would be impossible to contain and clean up.

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