Greenpeace activists climb up Russian Arctic oil rig

Members of the Greenpeace international environmental protection organization have boarded a Gazprom oil drilling platform at the Prirazlomnaya Arctic oil field, Greenpeace said on its Web site.

Greenpeace activists boarded the Prirazlomnaya drilling rig in the Pechora Sea early in the morning, climbed up the rig, secured positions there and have prepared themselves for a lasting action. The organization's executive director Kumi Naidoo has climbed up the rig, too, Greenpeace said. The activists were showered with cold water from fire hoses but were not discouraged, the environmentalists said.

The oil project's environmental assessment statement says that the platform is located far from the infrastructure and the probability of it coming under a terrorist attack is very small.

Six activists remain on the platform, Greenpeace Russia Media Director Polina Malysheva told Interfax. Their food stock is sufficient for them to carry on for a long time. No attempts have been made thus far to cut their action short, and no coast guard forces have arrived.

Greenpeace's main demand for Gazprom is to stop operations in the Arctic, Malysheva said. "We think the fragile Arctic environment is not the right place for oil drilling. Oil fields can be developed in other regions," she said.

The Gazprom management has been unavailable for contact so far, Malysheva said.

The oil reserves at the Prirazlomnaya oil field are estimated at 72 million tonnes. It is going to be a pilot Russian project for the development of the Arctic Shelf.

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