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Extinction Rebellion activists have occupied an oil and gas rig in Dundee Harbour to prevent it from carrying out work for Shell in the North Sea

06 JAN 2020

Three members of the group have scaled the Valaris 122 rig as part of 10 days of “solidarity actions”.

Extinction Rebellion said they are prepared to “stay up there for as long as possible to stop the rig leaving the harbour”.

Industry body Oil and Gas UK condemned the action as a “dangerous and short-sighted stunt”.

Forth Ports, owner of the Port of Dundee, said it had deployed a pilot boat to Alexandra Wharf, where the rig is berthed, and will stay on site as a precaution while they liaise with the rig owners and relevant authorities.

According to Valaris’ latest fleet status report, the 122 rig is scheduled to carry out a contract for Shell beginning on January 20.

A spokesman for Shell said: “We’re aware of the protest action on the Valaris 122 rig. The safety of those involved – both protestors and workers – is our prime concern.”

Valaris 122 is expected to head to the Shearwater field, 125miles east of Aberdeen, as part of a two-well deal to sustain production there.

The contract includes seven one-well extension options, and is due to end on October 20.

Oil and Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: “This is a dangerous and short-sighted stunt which does absolutely nothing to help provide the solutions which will be required to meaningfully deliver net zero emissions by 2045 in Scotland.

“Worse than this, we know that the premature shutdown of the North Sea would only increase reliance on oil and gas imported from across the world where we have no control over emissions and with none of the substantial benefits our indigenous industry brings with it thousands of skilled  jobs, the funding of public services and energy security.

“This stunt puts both the activists and offshore workforce at risk and our industry – with its focus on safe operations – will not condone these actions.

“If Extinction Rebellion is serious about net zero then it needs to become serious about what will be required and recognise the critical contribution our industry could make if it realises its full potential to support the transition to a lower carbon and more diverse energy mix.”

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