Monday 03 August 2020

Shell goes to court to stop Greenpeace protests at Brent oil field rigs

Activists hung banners on the rig remains in October. Photo: Maarten van Dijl/Greenpeace

Oil giant Shell is going to court in an effort to stop environmental group Greenpeace demonstrating on or near four North Sea oil rigs – which it plans not to dismantle fully.

The case will be heard in a Scottish court on Thursday and comes after the British government said that Shell could leave the foundations of the rigs on the sea bed after decommissioning. Just one of the rigs in the Brent field is still working.

Greenpeace says leaving the foundations, which include tanks containing 11,000 tonnes of oil, will cause an environmental disaster. But Shell argues removing the concrete structures will be extremely dangerous for drivers and that they will break down without causing problems over time.

Greenpeace Nederland director Joris Thijssen said it was disgraceful that Shell is trying to take away people’s right to protest. ‘Shell is one of the biggest polluters worldwide and is trying take away this fundamental right,’ he said.

Shell said that while it supports the right to demonstrate, the safety of oil rig workers and demonstrators remains paramount.

Government

In October, the Dutch government said that it too wants Shell to clean up the foundations of oil and gas platforms in the British part of the North Sea.

The comments by infrastructure minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen follow the publication of a report on the decommissioning operation which recommends the clean up be carried out, as agreed over 20 years ago in international treaties.

The licence request ‘does not sufficiently support’ the claim that leaving the foundations and storage units, which contain polluted material, is the best option from an environmental or safety point of view, the minister told Dutch MPs.

The Netherlands, she said, will join Germany in making a formal protest about the plan to leave the rig foundations in place.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.