Greenpeace protests Arctic oil drilling

Greenpeace activist dressed up like a Polar Bear protesting Arctic off-shore driling detained by police in Moscow on Wednesday. Photo: Greenpeace.

23 activists detained by police in Moscow after protesting at the entrance of the international conference Russian Arctic Oil and Gas. Greenpeace argues Arctic offshore projects are too risky.


The environmentalists, four of them dressed up like Polar Bears, held banners saying “Stop Gazprom and Shell!”, “The Arctic is more expensive than oil” and “No oil in the Arctic!” as they blocked the entrance to the hotel where the conference takes place this week.

After 45 minutes of protest, the police arrived and detained 23 of the protesters, including the four “Polar Bears,” Greenpeace reports on their Russian portal.

High-level representatives of such companies as Shell, Statoil, ExxonMobil, Gazprom, and many other participate at the conference. Among the major topics at the conference are the newest technologies of oil and gas drilling and transportation in freezing Arctic seas. The main task of the conference speakers is to convince investors that the development of the Arctic off-shore is highly profitable and absolutely safe. Greenpeace argues that the opposite is the fact.

The environmental group has written the report “Russian Arctic off-shore Hydrocarbon Exploration: Investment Risks, where the group argues that the risks related to Arctic off-shore drilling in areas as the Barents- and the Kara Seas are highly risky business. 

Among the key problems related to the development of the Arctic off-shore, ecologists place emphasis on unacceptably high risks of emergent oil spills and low technical quality of carrying out oil and gas extraction projects, high Arctic off-shore oil production costs, as well as the absence of accurate data on the proven reserves of Arctic off-shore oil and its quality.

Last week, BarentsObserver interviewed Charles Emmerson who has co-authored a report for Lloyd’s insurance market about investment risks in Arctic petroleum.

“If something goes wrong in the north it will impact not just one company - but an entire industry. If development is to happen sustainably, all companies have to do this right, and demonstrating this day in and day out,” Emmerson said to BarentsObserver.

The 23 Greenpeace activists in Moscow where all taken to court and given a fine of 500 rubles.