STAVANGER, Norway, May 28 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil said Wednesday it was pleased some Greenpeace activists who boarded a rig bound for arctic waters have given up their protest.
Greenpeace said Tuesday it had 15 demonstrators on board a rig contracted by Statoil from Transocean that was bound for work in the northern reaches of the Barents Sea.
Statoil said in an operational update Wednesday more than half of the demonstrators gave up and left the rig voluntarily. The company said it was concerned for the safety of the seven activists who remained.
"Greenpeace has gained the attention they generally seek, and we have encouraged them not to challenge safety any longer," the company said in a statement.
Six Greenpeace activists were arrested by Dutch authorities after 30 of them boarded a rig contracted by Russian energy company Gazprom for arctic exploration. The so-called Arctic 30, a group of Greenpeace activists, were arrested for similar actions against Gazprom last year.
Greenpeace said the pristine arctic climate is too vulnerable to a potential oil spill. The Norwegian energy company said a spill is "very unlikely," though it has in place a variety of response options should one occur.
There was no update on the status of Gazprom's rig. Statoil said its rig is about 180 miles offshore and conversations between the crew and the remaining activists were ongoing.