Four Greenpeace activists have climbed the West Hercules oil rig located offshore Norway, to protest drilling in the Arctic.

The West Hercules rig is currently located near the village of Rypefjord in the north of Norway. It is owned by deepwater drilling company Seadrill, and is contracted by Norwegian energy multinational Equinor to drill two exploration wells in the Barents Sea.

This protest comes as Greenpeace Norway prepares to challenge the Norwegian state’s approval of Arctic drilling operations, following the dismissal of Greenpeace’s legal action against the state in January 2018.

Greenpeace Norway head Frode Pleym said: “Drilling for oil in the Arctic while the region melts faster than ever is complete madness. We face a climate emergency and need to stop oil drilling, and that’s why we are peacefully protesting today.

“Oil is one of the biggest threats to the climate and the Paris Agreement, which Norway has signed to help keep global temperatures below 1.5 and avoid climate catastrophe.

“Norway needs to be a frontrunner when it comes to stopping the search for new oil, and this is not the way to do it. The emissions coming from Norwegian oil are Norway’s responsibility, and we as a country are not honouring that.”

Equinor communication manager Morten Eek told DW: “We fully respect the right to protest like Greenpeace is doing and we urge them to not put themselves in danger [with] illegal actions.

“If we are to reach the ambitious targets set by the Paris climate agreement and be able to reach those goals, the demand needs to reach its peak soon rather than later, but in a scenario where the demand for less oil and gas is less, there will still be a need for oil and gas in the energy mix, it can’t be 100% renewable.”