The oil company is forced to postpone drilling following the Environment Agency’s decision to re-examine drilling permissions in the area.
The drilling operation was to be conducted at 74 degrees north, about 175 km east of the Bear Island. The well will be the world’s northernmost ever drilled.
Greenpeace argues that the drilling threatens ecosystems in the area, and first of all the vulnerable environment of the Bear Island. The far northern island is known for its rich bird colonies and animal life.
“It’s now up to the environmental minister to save Bear Island, and stop Statoil’s risky drill plans”, Erlend Tellnes, Greenpeace Arctic Campaign leader says in a press release.
The environmental organization is also backed by new research from the Norwegian Polar Institute, which concludes that the average extention of the polar ice edge the last 30 years has been located close to the drill site.
As prevously reported, Statoil nurses high hopes for the Hoop area and is preparing for well drilling at its Apollo structure. Now, that drilling will have to wait. The complaint from Greenpeace will have to be handled by Environmental Minister Tine Sundtoft before the operation can be resumed. According to newspaper DN.no, the company has filed a complaint against the Environment Agency’s decision.
In the meantime, Greenpeace ship «Esperanca» is occupying the drill site, thus barring the Transocean Barents rig from getting access.