Shell wins court case to stop activists boarding North Sea rigs

Energy company Shell has won a court order to prevent activists from boarding installations in the North Sea.
Shell's Brent Alpha platform in the North Sea. Picture: SWNSShell's Brent Alpha platform in the North Sea. Picture: SWNS
Shell's Brent Alpha platform in the North Sea. Picture: SWNS

The company secured an interim interdict against Greenpeace at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Shell began the action after environmentalists spent the night on its Brent Alpha and Bravo platforms in October to campaign against leaving parts of them in the sea.

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The Brent Field is situated 116 miles off the coast of Lerwick, Shetland, midway between the Shetland Isles and the coast of Norway.

A Shell spokesman said: "Shell sought this court order only to prevent protesters 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 said of the four Brent platforms, only one - Brent Charlie - is now manned, from which Shell staff could be required to give urgent assistance to any protesters in the event of an emergency but this would also put their teams at risk.

Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Netherlands were involved in the court action.

They said the ruling is a "setback" but they will continue to fight against Shell's plans.

Meike Rijksen, campaigner for Greenpeace Netherlands, said: "Greenpeace has almost 50 years of experience with safe and peaceful protest.

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"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, said: "Currently we are waiting for the written ruling.

"Then we need to thoroughly analyse it 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."

Shell previously said it had spent 10 years conducting in-depth research into decommissioning the Brent platforms and its recommendations were the result of more than 300 scientific and technical studies.