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Greenpeace Activists Occupy BP's Northstar Centre

Greenpeace Activists Occupy BP's Northstar Control Centre

8 August 2000, Auckland: Six Greenpeace activists today occupied the control centre of BP's controversial Northstar development as it was being transported by barge to the construction site of the first offshore oil installation in the Arctic Ocean.

If oil drilling from BP's Northstar project is allowed to go ahead, it will fuel the dangerous problem of climate change, which is already causing severe meltdown in the Arctic. Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels ~ oil, coal and gas. Northstar will also pave the way for further offshore oil expansion in the vulnerable Arctic Ocean.

The activists from the Greenpeace ship MV Arctic Sunrise occupied the 130 metre sea barge just after midnight local time (7 August). They plan to set up a campaign and communications centre, which will be powered by solar and wind energy, inside BP's control room and accommodation block.

Stephanie Tunmore, one of the activists occupying the barge said,
"BP must turn this barge around. The costs of continuing with Northstar far outweigh the costs of stopping it now. The Arctic is heating up faster than anywhere else on the planet and polar bears and walrus are showing signs of starvation as the sea ice on which they depend melts away."

The Arctic is on the front-line of global warming. The western Arctic is already warming three to five times faster than the global average. The Arctic ice pack has shrunk dramatically over the past 40 years. Ice thickness has declined by more than 40 percent and an area the size of Texas has disappeared in the last 20 years. Marine mammals are under threat as the ice pack on which they hunt and breed melts away.

Despite BP's frequent claims to be concerned about climate change it has recently announced a 40% increase in oil and gas investment. The company has also aggressively promoted its solar division as proof of its green credentials but will actually be spending over 50 times more on oil exploration and production than on clean, renewable energy (1). BP has recently announced a new logo design, ironically of a sunburst at a cost of US$100 million for this year; more than its total annual spend on renewable energy in 1999(2).

Today's occupation of BP's control centre by Greenpeace follows on from a historic vote by BP shareholders at the company's AGM in April. At the AGM 13% of BP's investors voted in favour of a Greenpeace resolution to cancel Northstar and for the freed-up capital to be switched to BP's solar arm.

Tunmore added, "BP has already had a clear message from many of its shareholders that it should end its destructive activities in the Arctic and begin a real move away from damaging fossil fuels to clean, sustainable forms of energy. All the time and money that has been spent by BP recently on designing new logos will not save its brand if it continues to be seen as a climate destroyer by its customers and investors".

Notes to Editors
(1) BP presentation to the financial community 11th July 2000
(2) BP press release 24th July 2000

For more information please contact:
Sue Connor, Greenpeace New Zealand on 021 213 5603 or (09) 630 6317
Melanie Duchin or Melanie Hill, on board MV Arctic Sunrise, 00872 130 2577
Stephanie Tunmore on board the barge, 00872 761 328 660
Susan Cavanagh, Greenpeace international press desk, 0031 621296910

Video available on 0031 653 504 721
Photo available on from Greenpeace New Zealand (09) 630 6317 or

Further information available on

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