June 16, 2019
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BP faces twin protests: oil rig occupied, artists push gallery to sever links

Edinburgh (United Kingdom), Jun 10 (efe-epa).- Two Greenpeace activists have made it to the top of an oil rig and set up camp in a bid to stop oil company BP from drilling off the coast of Scotland, the environmental organization said on Monday.

The activists reached the drilling rig from a boat on Sunday from which they unraveled a large banner that declared a "Climate Emergency."

"Two activists are blocking a @BP_plc oil rig from setting out to the North Sea where it intends to drill for 30 million barrels of oil. We're in a #ClimateEmergency - the age of oil is over," the organization tweeted.

The rig, which weighs some 27,000 tonnes and is owned by Transocean, was getting ready to set off from Cromarty Firth (some 20 miles north of Inverness) to the Vorlich oil field in the North Sea in order to start an operation to drill new oil wells operated by BP.

BP was hoping to access up to 30 million barrels of oil at the Vorlich field.

The activists have provisions and would be able to continue to occupy the rig for several days, Greenpeace added.

BP has said it is working with authorities to try and resolve the situation peacefully.

“We share the protestors’ concerns about the climate. We support the Paris agreement. And we are working every day to advance the world’s transition to a low carbon future," BP said in a statement.

“We’re reducing emissions from our own operations – down 1.7 million tonnes last year – improving our products to help our customers reduce their emissions, and creating new low carbon businesses. We are committed to being part of the solution to the climate challenge facing all of us,” the company added.

Meanwhile, on Monday a group of artists also launched a campaign urging London's National Portrait Gallery to halt its relationship with BP, which sponsors the well-known institution.

"While our activists are blocking a @BP_plc rig from drilling new oil wells, artists are calling on the National Portrait Gallery to cut ties with the oil giant," Greenpeace said on social media.

"Thank you @ReclaimOurBard for all the work you're doing to end BP's sinister greenwashing," the organization added.

Reclaim Our Bard is an organization that puts pressure on cultural organizations to cut commercial ties with oil companies.

British artist and judge of the 2019 BP Portrait Award, Gary Hume, has written a letter to the Director of the National Portrait Gallery Nicholas Cullinan urging him to put an end to the sponsorship deal with BP.

In the letter, Hume accuses oil companies like BP of exacerbating the climate crisis the world is facing, fuelling mass extinctions, rising sea-levels and the break down of ecosystems.

The British multinational invests less than 3 percent of its annual turnover in alternative energies.

"Recognizing that we are in a climate emergency means taking steps that we might not have planned for and, for me, refusing to launder the oil industry’s image is a step that the art world now needs to take," Hume added. EFE-EPA

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