Cairn offices invaded by ‘polar bears’

Environmental activists dressed as polar bears have staged a sit-in at the Edinburgh offices of Cairn Energy in a protest against the company’s deep-water oil drilling activities off the coast of Greenland.

The grizzly group of around 60 Greenpeace volunteers invaded the Scottish headquarters at around 08.15 on Monday morning, demanding that the firm publish its oil spill-response plan, and handing out leaflets to employees encouraging them to become whistleblowers.

The Greenpeace group has previously scaled Cairn’s Greenland rigs on various occasions in an attempt to force the company to reveal what measures they have in place in the event of a spill like that seen at the BP Deep Water Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico last year. Cairn announced on 6th June that such plans are not available to the public, and activists have since been banned from the area by Danish authorities.

Speaking to Bloomberg at the time of the occupation, Greenpeace campaigner Vicky Wyatt said, “About 30 of them have locked themselves to various bits of furniture and they will stay there until Cairn publish their oil spill plan.” Several activists had to be forcefully removed by police and will appear in court this week.

Cairn confirmed that the demonstrators had gained access to their offices. “Wherever it is active, Cairn operates in a safe and prudent manner,” the company said in a statement. “Cairn takes its responsibilities such as oil spill contingency and response plans very seriously,” it added.

The US Geological Survey estimates that the waters around Greenland contain as much as 50 billion barrels of oil and gas, enough to meet the energy demands of Europe for around two years.

(Photos: Anders Peter Amsnæs)