STAVANGER, Norway – The Norwegian authorities have rejected Greenpeace’s appeal concerning a discharge permit for the Apollo exploration well in the Barents Sea.
A Greenpeace ship, Esperanza, sailed last week to the drilling location in an attempt to stall operations. The Norwegian Coast Guard took control of the ship and transported it out of the area last Friday.
Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment ruled that drilling does not violate the general guidelines for petroleum activities in the Barents Sea, clearing the way for the semisubmersible Transocean Spitsbergen to drill through Apollo’s potential oil-bearing layers.
Statoil says it is familiar with the geology in the region, its low pressure and temperature, and the company participated last year in the Wisting discovery well 50 km (31 mi) to the south.
“Our exploration drilling on Apollo is taking place in an area which has been impact assessed, opened up, and awarded by Norwegian authorities. We have established robust plans for the operation, and feel confident they can be carried out safely and without accidents,” said Irene Rummelhoff, senior vice president for exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf.
Transocean Spitsbergen is now at the drilling location in the safety zone and is preparing to start operations, 300 km (186 mi) from the Norwegian mainland and 170 km (105 mi) from the island of Bjørnøya.