Norwegian authorities have rejected an appeal by Greenpeace to stop Statoil from drilling the world's most northerly well on the Apollo prospect in the Barents Sea, the Norwegian oil company said on Friday.
The company's announcement that it has been given approval to start drilling comes a day after Norwegian police removed seven Greenpeace protesters who had boarded the rig in an attempt to prevent it from reaching the Barents Sea and Bear Island, an uninhabited wildlife sanctuary that is home to rare species, including polar bears.
“Greenpeace has once again performed an illegal action. Statoil respects people’s right to make a legal protest, and we feel it is important to have a democratic debate around the oil industry. Our exploration drilling on Apollo is taking place in an area which has been impact assessed, opened up and awarded by Norwegian authorities. We have established robust plans for the operation, and feel confident they can be carried out safely and without accidents,” said Irene Rummelhoff, senior vice president for exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf.
“Our top priority is to have safe operations without any harm to people or the environment. Delayed exploration activities come at a cost, however, which we estimate to be at a level of NOK 7.5 million per day. In addition there are the costs to society,” Rummelhoff added.
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by David Goodman)