Greenpeace activists board second UK North Sea drill rig


Darius V. Snieckus
OGJ Online

LONDON, Apr. 6--Greenpeace volunteers Friday succeeded in boarding a North Sea drilling rig for the second time this week in a bid to derail oil company drilling campaigns on the UK Continental Shelf.

At 0630 BST, six climbers from the environmental activist group scaled the Sante Fe 135 rig on contract to BG International PLC for drilling operations at its Blake field, located 30 km off the Scottish coast on Block 13/24 in the Outer Moray Firth.

Supported by the Greenpeace vessel MV Greenpeace, three climbers have set up camp on one of the rig's legs in a bell-shape survival pod, while two others abseiled down the rig to paint "Oil Kills" on one of the rig's legs.

A spokeswoman for the British oil and gas company said "everything possible is being done to resolve this situation," but confirmed that well cementing operations being carried out at the field had been abandoned for the day.

She said Grampian police had been contacted, and that a helicopter remained on standby at Dyce airport.

The spokeswoman stressed that two Greenpeace members had left the rig since this morning, and that the atmosphere on Santa Fe 135 was "nonconfrontational." Some 85 personnel are currently onboard the rig, which has been on location at Blake since late last year.

This latest action comes just 5 days after 21 Greenpeace activists stopped a rig under contract to Conoco Inc. from leaving Scotland's Cromarty Firth to begin a drilling campaign.

Contact Darius V. Snieckus at dsnieckus@ogjonline.com

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