Russia’s President Vladimir Putin hailed the first shipment of oil from offshore Arctic to Europe on Friday, Gazprom has announced.
The energy giant shipped the first 70,000 tonnes of oil from the Prirazlomnoye platform – the subject of a protest last year after 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists known as the “Arctic 30” were arrested after they scaled the rig.
Gazprom said the oil will be delivered to consumers in northwest Europe via vessels Mikhail Ulyanov and Kirill Lavrov, with more than 300,000 planned to be shipped from the field this year.
Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee said: “Gazprom has opened a new stage in the development of the Russian oil industry… Today’s event is highly important for strengthening Russia’s position in the global oil market. We increased the flexibility and reliability of oil supply to almost any part of the world.”
Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said it is a “defining moment” for both the Artic and the rest of the world.
He added: “Russia’s state owned energy companies are betting that the Arctic can provide a new source of power and profit for decades to come.
“If we do not stop this Arctic oil rush we risk not only the environment but our ability to shake off the power structures of the last century. This is not about turning from one source of fossil fuel to another. It is about speeding up the inevitable switch to clean technology while reducing the amount of energy we use overall. Never has the situation been so urgent or the solution so clear.”