Sinking prospect: oil rigs and Greenpeace in the North Sea

Solutions Journal 4 (Sept 2013)

This article argues that environmental discourses develop on an international stage at a particular moment in time and can create associations between issues that are not directly related. When Greenpeace, by occupying the Brent Spar, turned all eyes on the issue of dumping oil installations at sea, political opinion turned against any action that might be construed as dumping. Although reef creation was not the same thing as disposal, environmentalists and OSPAR representatives from several nations believed that oil companies would misuse artificial reefs to dump their waste while claiming their actions were environmentally sound. The Norwegian government, although not in agreement with these positions, decided that the rig conversion battle was one they did not want to fight. The legacy of these decisions lives on: as of 2013, no obsolete offshore oil installation structures have been converted into artificial reefs in the North Sea.

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