01 October 2014, News Wires – Russia has closed the book on an investigation into an attempt by Greenpeace protesters to disrupt drilling by Gazprom Neft Shelf in the remote Pechora Sea late last year.
Lawyers for the environmental watchdog were informed on Tuesday by authorities that Russia’s Investigative Committee had ended the year-long probe into the case involving the so-called Arctic 30.
Activists from the group’s flagship Arctic Sunrise attempted to scale the Prirazlomnaya platform in September last year in an attempt to stop production, which subsequently began.
The 30, including 28 protesters and two freelance journalists, were arrested, jailed and charged, initially on charges of piracy, before this was changed to hooliganism. They were subsequently released months later, with the Arctic Sunrise freed in early June andleaving Russian waters some weeks later.
Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said of the decision to end the investigation: “We cannot understand how it took the Investigative Committee a year to establish what was clear from the start: that these people are passionate activists, not pirates.
Naidoo vowed: “We will continue to take action in defence of the Arctic whether in Russia, the US or anywhere else. We have millions of people with us and the powerful wind of change in our sails.”
Oil production from the Prirazlomnaya platform, which is in the Prirazlomnoye oilfield, began in December. It was the first oil installation in the Russian part of the Arctic.
The field holds estimated recoverable reserves of 540 million barrels of oil, with peak production of 110,000 barrels per day to be achieved by 2020.