Greenpeace protesters board 27,000-ton oil rig to stop BP drilling

Greenpeace protesters board 27,000-tonne oil rig being towed out to sea off Scotland in bid to stop BP drilling new wells

  • Campaigners scaled rig last night as it was being towed out of the Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness
  • Rig was going to the Vorlich oil field, in North Sea, to drill ’30m barrels of oil’
  • Group then demanded BP immediately stop the rig from continuing its journey
  • Greenpeace activists remain on rig and are demanding BP stops it oil operations

This is the moment Greenpeace activists scaled a BP oil rig to prevent it continuing its journey to the North Sea to drill for oil. 

The campaigners scaled the 27,000-ton rig in the north of Scotland as a boat attempted to tow it out of the Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness.

A video filmed by the protesters sees them speeding up to the enormous rig at around 6.30pm yesterday evening – they then climb aboard and unfurl a banner declaring a climate emergency.  

Greenpeace activists have scaled a BP oil rig as it was being towed out of the Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness, in Scotland, to prevent it from continuing its journey to the Vorlich Oil field in the North Sea to drill for oil

It is understood the rig was being towed to the Vorlich oil field – located west of the Shetland Islands north of Scotland – where Greenpeace say BP hope to access up to 30 million barrels of oil. 

The rig is owned and operated by drilling firm Transocean, which also owned the rig involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Greenpeace is demanding that BP end its drilling of new oil wells and instead switches to investing in renewable energy. 

They said the rig protesters have provisions to remain in place for ‘several days’.   

The group of five protesters sped up to the enormous rig on a speedboat at around 6.30pm yesterday evening

Greenpeace said the rig protesters have provisions to remain in place for ‘several days’

If BP does not do as it demands, Greenpeace should ‘wind down its operations, return cash to investors and go out of business’.  

In the footage, the group of five campaigners are seen on the boat with water spraying around them as one of them says, ‘who’s going up first’, before they stop next to a ladder fixed to the side of the rig.

The campaigners then climb aboard and a different video filmed from distance shows a figure wearing a helmet and a harness as they climb the ladder’s rungs.

One of the activists then appears to communicate with the rig’s operators – thought to be BP – as he declares: ‘Greenpeace will not allow this rig to go out to the Vorlich oilfield.’ 

‘We are opposed to you drilling a new hole for any oil whatsoever.

‘We would like you to desist immediately from this operation,’ he added. 

In the footage, the group of five campaigners are seen on the boat with water spraying around them as one of them says, ‘who’s going up first’, before they stop next to a ladder fixed to the side of the rig

The campaigners then climb aboard, with the video showing a figure wearing a helmet and a harness as they climb the ladder’s rungs

The activists are then seen high up on one of the rig’s platforms and they have unfurled banners showing BP’s logo with a cross through it.  

Jo, a Greenpeace activist from Scotland who is aboard the rig, said: ‘Warm words flow from BP on their commitment to tackling climate change, yet this rig – and the 30m barrels it seeks to drill – are a sure sign that BP are committed to business as usual, fuelling a climate emergency that threatens millions of lives and the future of the living world. 

‘We can’t let that happen – that’s why we’re here today.

It is understood the rig was being towed to the Vorlich oil field – located west of the Shetland Islands north of Scotland – where Greenpeace say BP hope to access up to 30 million barrels of oil. Above: The protesters can be seen on one of the rig’s platforms and have unfurled banners showing BP’s logo crossed out

‘The government may be bent on draining the North Sea of every last drop of oil, but this clearly contradicts their climate commitments. 

‘The perverse idea we must maximise our oil and gas reserves cannot continue.

‘That means the government must seriously reform the Oil and Gas Authority and instead invest heavily in the crucial work of helping oil communities like those in Scotland move from fossil fuels to the industries that will power our low carbon future,’ she added. 

The protesters claim to have enough provisions to remain on the rig ‘for days’

Responding to the protest, a spokeswoman for BP told MailOnline: ‘In all operations safety is our top priority. 

‘While we recognise the right for peaceful protest, the actions of this group are irresponsible and may put themselves and others unnecessarily at risk.

‘We are working with Transocean—the rig’s owner and operator—and the authorities to assess the situation and resolve it peacefully and safely.

‘We share the protestors’ concerns about the climate. We support the Paris agreement. And we are working every day to advance the world’s transition to a low carbon future.

‘We’re reducing emissions from our own operations – down 1.7 million tonnes last year – improving our products to help our customers reduce their emissions, and creating new low carbon businesses.

Greenpeace are demanding that BP stops drilling for oil and instead focus entirely on developing renewable energy

‘We are committed to being part of the solution to the climate challenge facing all of us.’ 

‘We share the protesters’ concerns about the climate. 

‘We support the Paris agreement. And we are working every day to advance the world’s transition to a low-carbon future,’ they added.

A Police Scotland spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘In relation to the ongoing protest involving Greenpeace in the Cromarty Firth, Police Scotland is working with the operators, the port authority and other interested parties in an effort to resolve the situation as safely as possible.’ 

MailOnline has approached the Port of Cromarty Firth and Transocean, the rig’s operator, for comment.  

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