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Greenpeace activists occupy oil rig

Tuesday, 30 April - Four Greenpeace activists have climbed aboard the oil rig West Hercules, located near Rypefjord village in the north of Norway. The four have now been on board for 12 hours.

The rig operated by Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, is on its way to drill for oil in the Arctic - one of the most pristine places on Earth.

The activists are part of a growing movement of people across the planet demanding that governments step up their game on climate change, and follow the recent school strikes which have seen millions of students around the world leaving class to march in the streets.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Amanda Larsson says New Zealand has been at the forefront of protests against the oil industry.

"An almost decade long campaign here in New Zealand culminated in the Jacinda Ardern Government announcing a ban on new oil and gas exploration permits last year, making us one of the first countries in the world to do so," she says.

"Despite the looming climate catastrophe and clear signals from scientists that we cannot afford to burn even known oil reserves, oil companies like Equinor in the Arctic and OMV here in New Zealand are still intent on going to the ends of the Earth in search of more oil to burn."

"While a growing movement calling for real action on climate change is building momentum all over the world, these companies continue to threaten our survival with their greedy plunder of the natural world. But what's also clear is that, wherever they go, they face increasing resistance."

In New Zealand, Greenpeace has promised to meet Austrian oil major OMV with stiff opposition, conducting peaceful civil disobedience training for anyone who wants to join the fight to ‘make oil history’ and ratcheting up its call on the Government to do much more than just ban new oil exploration permits.

Larsson says a series of sweeping changes are required to tackle the scale of the climate emergency the world faces.

"Greenpeace is calling on the New Zealand Government to honour Jacinda Ardern's pledge to make climate change our nuclear free moment by declaring a climate emergency and committing to three key actions: Ending new oil and gas infrastructure, phasing out oil powered vehicles, and putting solar panels and batteries on 500,000 kiwi homes."

Photos and video for press use can be found here

Follow the oil rig West Hercules on Marine Traffic here


The drilling this protest is focused on is part of the 23rd licensing round in the area. Together with Nature and Youth, Greenpeace has sued the Norwegian state for opening up these licenses, arguing that it is a breach of the Norwegian Constitution, § 112, which defines the state’s obligation to secure future generations a sustainable environment. By looking for oil this far north, the state fails to secure this right.


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