Greenpeace has ended its protests against BP drilling oil in the North Sea by handing in “people’s climate injunctions” at the energy company’s headquarters.
Greenpeace protestors spent nearly seven days occupying an oil rig rented by BP in the Cromarty Firth in northern Scotland last week, leading to the arrests of 14 activists, including three photographers hired by Greenpeace.
After the rig Paul B Loyd Jr set sail on Saturday night, Greenpeace tried to prevent it reaching the Vorlich oilfield 150 miles east of Aberdeen by blocking its route with its protest ship the Arctic Sunrise.
The oil rig evaded the Arctic Sunrise by changing course several times before finally arriving at its drill site yesterday morning. Greenpeace said the rig cost BP £140,000 a day to hire from its operator Transocean, which had nearly 100 oil workers on board during the protests.
In a final attempt to obstruct the rig, Greenpeace said one of its swimmers swam into its path at sea yesterday. She was taken out of the water by Greenpeace when the rig came within a nautical mile of her without altering course.
Claiming its protest was a success because it had delayed drilling for 12 days, Greenpeace said it had handed in two “injunctions”, documents mimicking a court order, at BP’s headquarters in Aberdeen and London urging the energy firm to immediately stop drilling new wells and to switch to renewables.
Its activists also protested outside BP’s European headquarters in Germany, accusing BP of ignoring the climate emergency and breaching its pledges to honour the Paris climate agreement, which requires climate heating to be limited to 1.5C.
John Sauven, Greenpeace UK’s executive director, said: “For the past 12 days we’ve seen what one Greenpeace ship and a handful of dedicated activists can achieve in the face of a giant climate-wrecking company. But they weren’t alone. There’s a movement of millions calling on companies like BP to clean up their act and truly address the climate emergency.”
The three freelance photographers have not been charged, but 11 activists have appeared in court charged with disorderly conduct.
Police Scotland has confirmed it has also reported Greenpeace to Scottish prosecutors for further direct action on Sunday while the rig was at sea. It is understood Greenpeace inflatable boats are suspected of illegally breaching a 500-metre safety exclusion zone around the rig on Sunday morning.
BP said it was glad the protests were over. “Greenpeace’s irresponsible actions have put people and property unnecessarily at risk, and diverted valuable time and resources away from public services,” a spokesman said. “Progress to a lower carbon future will depend on coming together, understanding each other’s perspectives and working to find solutions.”