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Greenpeace cries foul over Statoil protest moves

Campaign group says Norwegian government sided with energy company.
By Daniel J. Graeber   |   May 30, 2014 at 7:56 AM   |   Comments

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LONDON, May 30 (UPI) -- Environmental campaign group Greenpeace said Friday it was frustrated with a decision by the Norwegian government to declare a rig leased by Statoil off limits.

Greenpeace launched a protest this week against Russian energy company Gazprom and Statoil as they deployed rigs to arctic waters.

Dutch authorities arrested Greenpeace activists who targeted Gazprom early in the week and Statoil said Thursday several protesters were in the custody of Norwegian police.

The advocacy group said Friday it has a right to go wherever it pleases under international maritime laws, but the Norwegian government "was willing to clean up [Statoil's] mess" when it declared an immediate safety zone around the rig leased by Statoil from Transocean.

"Of course, this zone has nothing to do with safety," Greenpeace campaigner Daniel Simons said in a statement Friday. "A more proper description would be 'get lost zone.'"

Statoil said Thursday after the protestors' arrest it was pleased the "illegal action" by Greenpeace was over without any safety issues.

Gazprom is preparing for work in the northern Pechora Sea. The Norwegian energy company is set for work in the northern reaches of the Barents Sea.

Advocacy groups like Greenpeace say exploration and production in arctic waters exposes the pristine environment to unnecessary risks.

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