Environmentalist group Greenpeace reportedly took the UK government to court over what it sees as Britain's failure to protect coral beds, whales, dolphins and other marine life from the effects of oil and gas exploration. Greenpeace officials
said the government has failed to apply the European Union Habitats Directive to oil and gas exploration in the relatively deep waters of the Atlantic Frontier, where oil companies believe large new oil reserves are waiting to be tapped.
Oil companies Texaco, Esso UK, Marathon Oil UK, Mobil North Sea, Enterprise Oil, Conoco Ltd., Statoil (STO)
, Philips Petroleum UK, Elf Exploration And British Gas Exploration and Production are opposing Greenpeace's moves. A spokesperson for the UK Offshore Operators Association, which represents Britain's North Sea oil companies, said that the industry is required to follow approximately 200 regulations relating to environment, adding that the industry had spent approximately $5 million on research to determine the effects of drilling and oil production
on the seabed and marine life.