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Greenpeace claims it forced BP oil rig to make U-turn in North Sea

AFP-JIJI

Greenpeace said Monday that its seafaring campaigners had forced British energy giant BP to turn around an oil rig before it could start drilling a new well.

The environmental pressure group’s ship Arctic Sunrise has been shadowing BP’s rig for nine days as it tries to reach its North Sea destination from Scotland.

Greenpeace said it forced the platform to return toward the coast on Saturday and then again on Monday.

“We are determined to stop BP drilling new oil wells in the North Sea,” Greenpeace activist Sarah North said in a statement.

The group said it was “following BP’s oil rig as it makes its second U-turn in less than 48 hours.

BP issued no comment when contact by AFP on Monday.

It said when the standoff began that while “we recognize the right for peaceful protest, the actions of this group are irresponsible and may put themselves and others unnecessarily at risk.

Greenpeace said 11 of its activists have been arrested for planting themselves on the rig since last week.

BP’s £200-million ($250-million, €225-million) Vorlich project off Scotland’s eastern shore is a two-well development that the energy group believes can produce up to 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

It received U.K. government approval last September.

BP and other energy multinationals are under intensifying pressure from campaigners to halt carbon fuel development and focus on renewable forms of energy.

The British government outlined plans this month to cut greenhouse gas emissions to a net level of zero by 2050.