Court bans Greenpeace from boarding Shell’s North Sea installations

Oil major Shell has won a court order against Greenpeace aimed at preventing environmentalists from boarding the company’s oil installations in the North Sea.


In October 2019, Greenpeace protested on the Shell-operated Brent field in the North Sea against the company’s plans to leave parts of old oil structures with 11,000 tonnes of oil in the North Sea.


Following the protest, Shell sought an order from the Edinburgh court to ban protests near the company’s platforms.


Following reports that Shell has won the injunction, Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Shell seeking confirmation and further details about the order.


A Shell spokesperson said: “Shell sought this court order only to prevent protestors breaching the statutory 500 metre safety zones around platforms in the Brent field, putting themselves and Shell staff at risk. We wholeheartedly support the right to protest peacefully and safely. We’re pleased this decision recognises that the existing legal safety zone should be respected by campaigners.”


Shell called on Section 21 of the Petroleum Act 1987, which automatically establishes 500-metre safety zones around installations which are stationed, being assembled or being dismantled in waters within the UK Continental Shelf. Under the act, it is an offence for any vessel to enter or remain in the safety zone except in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State or a consent given by the Health and Safety Executive.


The BBC reported that the judge had concluded that since the installations were private property, Shell had a legal right to stop the climate activists from accessing them. The news agency also reported that the judge had ruled that given the physical state of the installations, protesters could injure themselves.


A setback for Greenpeace

In a statement on the 4th December, Greenpeace confirmed that the Scottish Court had granted Shell’s request for a temporary ban on future protests by Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Netherlands near or on Shell’s oil platforms in the Brent oil field.


Responding to the court order, Meike Rijksen, Campaigner for Greenpeace Netherlands said: “This is a setback, but the public will understand the real concern here is Shell’s plan. We will continue to fight alongside experts and governments against Shell’s intention to dump 11,000 tonnes of oil in the North Sea.


“Greenpeace has almost 50 years of experience with safe and peaceful protest. We strongly believe in the right to protest and will keep defending it. Shell can try to shut us up, but we will only get louder.”


Michelle Jonker-Argueta, Legal Counsel for Greenpeace International stated: “Currently we are waiting for the written ruling. Then we need to analyse it thoroughly before making any decisions about a possible appeal. In any event, Greenpeace will get to fight for the right to hold the industry accountable through safe and peaceful protest when the court considers Shell’s request for a permanent ban.”


According to Greenpeace, a ban on dumping installations and platforms in the North-East Atlantic Ocean was agreed in 1998 by all members of the OSPAR Commission.


Shell has requested an exemption from the UK government. Both the Dutch Government and the German Government have criticized Shell’s plan and came to the conclusion that Shell’s study into the complete dismantling of the platforms is inadequate.


Source: offshore Energy Today