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Norway Arrests Activists Chained To Russian Oil Tanker

The authorities in Norway have arrested 20 activists who used small boats to keep a Russian oil tanker from unloading off Copenhagen on Monday. 

The activists, joining a Greenpeace action, had chained themselves to the Hong Kong-registered Ust Luga oil tanker before being removed by police, Norway’s Aftenposten daily newspaper reports. 

Accusing Norway of helping Russia fill its war chest with oil revenues, the activists sought to stop the unloading of more than 105,000 tons of fuel that had departed from St. Petersburg, Russia, and was heading to a Norwegian terminal owned by Exxon subsidiary Esso. 

"Oil is not only at the root of the climate crisis, but also of wars and conflicts. I am shocked that Norway operates as a free port for Russian oil, which we know finances Putin's warfare," Reuters cited Greenpeace Norway head Frode Pleym as saying.   

According to an Esso spokeswoman, speaking to Norwegian media, Esso Norway does not have any future contracts to purchase petroleum products from Russia, and the 105,000 tons of oil on board the Ust Luga had been purchased prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Norway itself is not dependent on Russian oil, but it is sensitive to the fact that as one of the world’s largest exporters of oil and gas, it stands to benefit from Russia’s war on Ukraine. 

Norway produces an estimated 2% of the oil that hits world markets, according to Time magazine, and is the second largest exporter of natural gas to Europe, after Russia. 

The European Union is planning to cut its imports of Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of the year. Presently, Russia provides some 45% of the bloc’s natural gas. 

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On Monday, Euronews reported that work on the Baltic Pipe, which will deliver 10 million cubic meters of natural gas annually from Norway to Poland, has resumed after a lengthy hiatus. That pipeline is slated to become operational by January 1, 2023. 

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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