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Greenpeace claims edge over Statoil

Statoil abandoned frontier campaign in arctic waters.
By Daniel J. Graeber   |   Aug. 8, 2014 at 10:14 AM

OSLO, Norway, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A decision by Statoil to end a campaign in the arctic waters of the Barents Sea shows it never should have drilled there in the first place, Greenpeace said.

Norwegian energy company Statoil said it ended its campaign in the frontier Hoop area of the Barents Sea. Small volumes of hydrocarbons were encountered, but nothing in the way of a commercial discovery.

The drilling program was the target of a Greenpeace protest aimed at highlighting the risks of operating in the pristine arctic environment. The Hoop reserve area is near Bear Island, a unique island ecosystem that Greenpeace said would be spoiled should a spill occur in the area.

Truls Gulowsen, director of the Norwegian branch of Greenpeace, said dry wells in the Hoop area suggest it's the arctic environment itself that's rejecting the presence of oil companies like Statoil.

"The licenses should never have been awarded in the first place," he said in a statement emailed Thursday. "When all these wells turned up uncommercial, it is safe to say the birds at Bear Island were victorious."

Norwegian authorities arrested more than a dozen Greenpeace demonstrators who boarded a rig contracted by Statoil from Transocean in May that was bound for the work in the northern reaches of the Barents Sea.

Follow @dan_graeber and @UPI on Twitter.
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