Police in Scotland have arrested a group of protesters with Extinction Rebellion after an unauthorized boarding of the jackup rig Valaris JU-122 (Ensco 122) on the River Tay, Dundee. Three of the environmentalists climbed aboard the rig and stayed for about five hours, although they left when the weather got bad. Three others attempted to board but were arrested in the act.
“Police can confirm that four men and three women have been arrested in connection with the incident. Inquiries are ongoing,” said Police Scotland in a statement.
The rig is operated by Valaris and is due to drill several wells for Royal Dutch Shell in 2020.
Extinction Rebellion Scotland said that the action was targeting Shell.
The operation was intended to last for up to 10 days, but lasted only a few hours because of deteriorating weather conditions. XR Scotland said that the protest’s objective had been to stop the rig leaving the harbour and to halt its operations.
They called it “Rig Rebellion 2.0”.
An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson told the BBC that ” Oil & Gas UK . . . need to own up to its role in the climate crisis and face the fact that our future must be fossil free”.
Oil & Gas UK rejected the group’s accusations. CEO Deirdre Michie described the action as a “dangerous and short-sighted stunt”, which put both the activists and offshore workforce at risk”, adding that “our industry – with its focus on safe operations – will not condone these actions”.
Michie also called for cooperation and pointed to Oil & Gas UK’s plans for carbon reduction, including the reduction of emissions from production and the deployment of future carbon capture and storage technologies. “If Extinction Rebellion is serious about net zero then it needs to become serious about what will be required and recognize the critical contribution our industry could make . . . This is an industry in action, and we are committed to working with anyone to find solutions and deliver the low carbon future we all want to see,” she said.