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Greenpeace activists have boarded a BP oil rig bound for the North Sea to protest against the company’s plans to drill oil wells offshore Scotland.

The activists scaled the 27,000-tonne Paul B Loyd Jr rig as it attempted to leave Cromarty Firth, in an attempt to stop the platform from reaching the Vorlich oil field.

BP has a 66% operating interest in the Vorlich field, which holds approximately 30 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) and is likely to produce 20,000MMboe per day at peak production. The field is expected to start production in 2020.

The group criticised BP’s efforts to expand its oil and gas portfolio, demanding that the oil major immediately end drilling new wells and switch to investing in renewable energy or wind down its operations entirely.

Greenpeace activist Jo, currently aboard the rig, said: “Warm words flow from BP on their commitment to tackling climate change. Yet this rig and the 30 million barrels it seeks to drill are a sure a sign that BP are committed to business as usual, fuelling a climate emergency that threatens millions of lives and the future of the living world. We can’t let that happen – that’s why we’re here today.”

“The Government may be bent on draining the North Sea of every last drop of oil but this clearly contradicts their climate commitments. The perverse idea we must maximise our oil and gas reserves cannot continue. That means the government must seriously reform the Oil & Gas Authority and instead invest heavily in the crucial work of helping oil communities like those in Scotland move from fossil fuels to the industries that will power our low carbon future.”

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By GlobalData

This latest protest action follows a Greenpeace demonstration in May, which saw the group blockade BP’s London headquarters a day before the company’s Annual General Meeting. Greenpeace also criticised BP in March for lobbying against US methane regulations.

In a statement, BP said: “In all operations safety is our top priority. While we recognise the right for peaceful protest, the actions of this group are irresponsible and may put themselves and others unnecessarily at risk. We are working with Transocean—the rig’s owner and operator—and the authorities to assess the situation and resolve it peacefully and safely.

“We share the protestors’ concerns about the climate. We support the Paris agreement. And we are working every day to advance the world’s transition to a low carbon future. We’re reducing emissions from our own operations – down 1.7 million tonnes last year – improving our products to help our customers reduce their emissions, and creating new low carbon businesses. We are committed to being part of the solution to the climate challenge facing all of us.”