Germany says it has called a special meeting of international partners this week to call on Royal Dutch Shell to remove retired oil platforms filled with crude oil in the North Sea.
The environment ministry in Berlin said it had informed signatories of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (Ospar) of a meeting on Friday in London.
“Germany finds it absolutely unacceptable that these quantities of crude oil remain in these structures,” said ministry spokesman Stephan Gabriel Haufe. He said it presented a “danger for the environment”.
The meeting was the first of its kind and would insist that the Dutch-UK oil giant dismantled the rigs, Gabriel Haufe said.
Signatories to the Ospar convention are Belgium, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
Greenpeace activists successfully occupied Shell’s abandoned Brent Alpha and Bravo rigs on Monday to the northeast of the Shetland Isles to highlight their environmental threat.
They displayed banners reading, “Shell, clean up your mess” and “Stop ocean pollution”.
The campaigners from the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark say Shell’s decommissioning process will leave four Brent oil rigs with an estimated 640,000 cubic metres of oily water and 40,000 cubic metres of oily sediment, containing around 11,000 tonnes of oil.
Greenpeace said on Tuesday that five of its activists had left the rigs after spending more than 24 hours on the North Sea platforms.
Shell told the media it had spent a decade researching decommissioning of the Brent rigs and that its techniques were the result of more than 300 studies.
Greenpeace campaigner Christian Bissau told the media: “Our activists have made sure that Shell’s refusal to clean up its own mess won’t go unnoticed.
“This is a company that prides itself on being able to extract fossil fuels miles deep into the Earth’s crust, and yet it says it’s too hard to extract oil sludge from a few feet of concrete in its own rigs.
“This multibillion-pound oil giant is just trying to skimp and save at the expense of our marine environment.
“If our governments are serious about protecting our seas, they should never allow oil companies like Shell to treat them as a waste dump.”
Greenpeace at work in the North Sea. Picture credit: YouTube