UK court fines Greenpeace over BP oil rig protest

LONDON (AFP) – A United Kingdom (UK) court on Friday fined Greenpeace GBP80,000 for breaching a ban to block a BP oil rig in the North Sea last year.

Edinburgh’s Court of Session handed down the penalty, equivalent to USD99,900, in a response to actions by Greenpeace UK at a drilling rig operated by the United States (US) company Transocean.

“We are disappointed that BP’s rig operator Transocean has sought to punish us for trying to protect the planet,” Greenpeace UK Executive Director John Sauven said in a statement after the fine was handed down during a virtual hearing.

“But our campaign does not end here and we will continue our fight to stop the oil industry from wrecking our climate.”

Sauven added that Greenpeace would seek to have BP’s permit “quashed” so it “cannot drill for new oil in the North Sea”.

Judge Sarah Wolffe said Greenpeace had “exhibited wilful defiance… and they are guilty of contempt of court”.

She added: “It is fundamental to the rule of law that court orders are obeyed.”

While BP continues to drill, it is also targetting “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050 under plans unveiled by recently-appointed chief executive Bernard Looney.

Rival energy major Royal Dutch Shell has also pledged to achieve net zero carbon status by the same deadline.

BP logo is seen at a petrol station southeast of London. PHOTO: AFP