Fossil fuel operators pollute the North Sea with 9,000 tonnes of oil per year

Oil companies continue to pollute the North Sea with thousands of tonnes of oil every year, according to Greenpeace International.

A quarter of a century after the Brent Spar campaign,  oil companies continue to pollute the North Sea with thousands of tonnes of oil every year, warns Greenpeace International. 25 years on, Shell is once again proposing to leave waste as part of its decommissioning plans for the remainder of the Brent platforms.

Greenpeace writes in a statement that in 2017, the North Sea platforms emitted around 30 million tonnes of CO2, and 180,000 tonnes of chemicals and 9,000 tonnes of oil were discharged. This is the equivalent of one tanker accident every year.

Greenpeace Germany marine biologist, Dr Christian Bussau, said: “The North Sea is a huge industrial landscape with hundreds of oil and gas platforms, with Shell in particular making money by polluting our waters and the climate.

“While the rest of the world is imagining a just transition away from fossil fuels, companies like Shell are behaving exactly as they had when Shell planned on dumping the Brent Spar platform 25 years ago. Shell’s plans show that the sea will continue to be abused as a dumping ground for the profit for an industry that has long passed its shelf life.”

Shell plans to leave 11,000 tonnes of oil at sea in parts of three old oil platforms, says the statement. Greenpeace activists from the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark protested against these plans with the ship Rainbow Warrior in Shell’s Brent oil field in October 2019, demanding that these 11,000 tonnes of oil not remain in the North Sea but be brought to shore for proper disposal and recovery. A final decision on Shell’s plans is still pending.

“The oil in the concrete bases of the platforms could seep into the sea. Oil is a toxic substance that contains carcinogens. When it enters the food chain, marine life and people are endangered,” said Bussau. “The North Sea must finally get long-term protection from unscrupulous oil companies. OSPAR member states and the EU must stop the production of oil in the North Sea. Otherwise the targets for marine protection and climate protection cannot be achieved.”

Image via Pixabay


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