Greenpeace board Transocean Spitsbergen 

On the morning of 27 May Greenpeace activists boarded the drilling rig Transocean Spitsbergen. Half of the activists have now given up and have left the rig voluntarily.

Transocean Spitsbergen

- Updated 28 May at 09.45 CET -

By Tuesday morning, seven activists remain on the rig.

We are pleased that some of the activists have given up and have chosen to leave the rig voluntarily, but we are still concerned for the safety of those remaining on the rig. Greenpeace has gained the attention they generally seek, and we have encouraged them not to challenge safety any longer.

Statoil respects the right for legal protests and believes it is important with a democratic debate on the oil industry. Statoil has had a dialogue with Greenpeace over the last few months. We have informed about our exploration plans in the Barents Sea and the emergency response setup for the operations on several occasions, and Greenpeace has been given the opportunity to explain their views and ask questions.

For Statoil the safety of people and the environment is the first priority, and we do not want activity that can increase the risk level. Greenpeace has been explained the risk associated with actions against a rig in open waters. When they still use this form of protest we believe they act irresponsibly and illegally.

We are concerned for the safety of the demonstrators who have made their way on board, and for the crew.

On Monday Statoil got approval from the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment to start drilling operations tied to the Apollo prospect in the Hoop area. The company is not allowed to drill into oil-bearing layers until the complaint from Greenpeace has been dealt with by the ministry.

For us it is important to state that the Hoop area has been through an impact assessment and has been opened for petroleum activity by Norwegian authorities. Hoop is an area with known geology, low pressure and temperature, and where Statoil has robust plans for the operations. An oil spill is very unlikely, but at the same time we have put in place a number of barriers to be able to handle a situation should it occur.

The rig is now about 300 kilometres offshore and there is a dialogue between the crew onboard the rig and the activists.

The rig is owned by Transocean and is on contract to Statoil.
FACTS - updated 27 May at 16.15

The Hoop area is situated further away from Bjørnøya than the distance between most Norwegian oil fields and land.

The Atlantis prospect is located 173 km off Bjørnøya, and 300 km from the Norwegian mainland.

The Hoop area is situated in the Barents Sea, where the Norwegian oil industry has been drilling wells since the early 1980s. Statoil has participated in more than 100 wells in the Barents Sea.

The probability of an oil spill happening is extremely low, since there are robust plans in place for the operation, and we are operating in familiar waters.

There are two factors that indicate an extremely low probability of oil reaching Bjørnøya. Firstly, there is a very low risk of an oil spill occurring at all, and secondly, there is an extremely low risk of any spillage reaching Bjørnøya. This has been confirmed by the 70,000 trajectory scenario calculations we have carried out.

If an oil spill were to occur, the first oil booms (NOFO system) would be on the water in less than two hours, and more systems would be mobilised rapidly.

Statoil plans to drill three wells in the Hoop area this summer, on the Apollo, Atlantis and Mercury prospects. The wells will be drilled by the rig Transocean Spitsbergen, and drilling is scheduled for the period from late May to September.

Ice monitoring map for 26 May produced by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute shows the nearest ice away from the Apollo well location.

The ice is expected to move even further North during the next few days.

Ice monitoring map  >