Polar Bear Blocks Cairn Energy Headquarters, Greenpeace Activists Shadow Oil Rig in Arctic

Greenpeace, as I wrote two days ago, is not at all comfortable with oil companies drilling in the Arctic (and who could be!)… and to show their disapproval, they had a polar bear blocking the headquarters to Cairn Energy (the only company looking to drill for oil in the Arctic this year) yesterday morning and they have two ships shadowing the Cairn Energy oil rig in the Arctic (which is protected by a Danish warship).

The Arctic oil rig — Leiv Eiriksson — is huge, 53,000 tons, and is prepared to drill about as deep as the BP oil rig that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico last year was drilling. The rig is located in what is commonly referred to as “Iceberg Alley” and is a dangerous place to be, let alone drill for oil, since these icebergs can take just about anything down (ship, oil rig, or what have you). Cairn reportedly tows icebergs away that are headed towards its rig and, if that is impossible, can also move the rig. Sounds safe, eh?

How would the company deal with a drilling disaster in the Arctic?

No one knows. Confidential UK government documents that Greenpeace got a hold of and released this week, “reveal that the British foreign office believes any oil spill in Arctic waters would be impossible to deal with,” Greenpeace writes. And Cairn Energy hasn’t released any oil spill response plan (if it even has one).

It took the crew of Greenpeace’s two ships — Esperanza and the Arctic Sunrise — weeks to find the oil rig in the vast expanse of the Arctic, and now that they have, they are shadowing the rig on its way to its designated exploratory drilling site in Baffin Bay. Yesterday, it stopped in the Greenleand capital of Nuuk where Greenpeace thinks it is picking up crew for its oil drilling adventures.

Of course, Greenpeace is asking you to take action by telling Cairn Energy to publish its Arctic oil spill response plan (and I will second that).

Friends of the Earth Scotland, WWF Scotland, and Greenpeace have sent a letter to Sir Bill Gammell, CEO of Cairn Energy, asking the same.

As Nick Young of Greenpeace writes: “We should not be pushing to the ends of the earth, risking everything to get at the last drop of oil – instead we should be seeking clean energy alternative and better fuel efficiency to break free of our addiction to oil.”

And as Ben Stewart of Greenpeace writes (in an eloquent piece combined with the perfect photo I highly recommended): “Of course, drilling for oil in an area known as iceberg alley is nothing less than dangerous lunacy.”

More Greenpeace stories on Planetsave:

  1. Arctic Drilling to Push Us Over the Stupidity Tipping Point?
  2. Shell Cancels Plans to Drill in Arctic (Success!)
  3. Greenpeace’s Arctic Defenders Deported from Greenland
  4. Greenpeace Stops Arctic Drilling, Activists Under Arrest [Video]

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace: “Crew from the MY Esperanza engage with the Leiv Eiriksson rig off Greenland. © Steve Morgan / Greenpeace

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