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Rescue equipment prepared to help Greenpeace activists on Prirazlomnaya rig

August 24, 2012, 19:21 UTC+3

The activists, who include Greenpeace's chief Kumi Naidoo, managed to put a banner on the rig saying "Don't kill the Arctic."

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ARKHANGELSK, August 24 (Itar-Tass) —— The Prirazlomnaya oil rig personnel have prepared rescue equipment just in case the Greenpeace activists who stormed the rig on Friday would need help, the Sevmash defense shipyard in Severodvinsk, the rig manufacturer, told Itar-Tass. Sevmash specialists are doing adjustment and startup works at the rig.

Sevmash is concerned over health of Greenpeace activists hanging on ropes along the Prirazlomnaya side as cold winds blow. It also worries about the strength of the ropes, which may fail to meet security criteria.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace Russia said water cannons were being used against the activists, who had climbed the Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Pechora Sea to oppose drilling in the Arctic.

“Two helicopters landed on Prirazlomnaya during the action. It is possible their passengers would detain the activists. Meanwhile, oil rig personnel are trying to wash the activists off the rig. The activists say they hold the ground but they are wet and cold,” it said.

The environmentalists broke into the 500-meter security zone of Prirazlomnaya and scaled the platform's mooring lines on Friday, Gazprom, the oil rig owner, told Itar-Tass.

“They were offered to climb to the oil rig deck for a constructive conversation but they refused to do that,” it said.

Gazprom said that the oil rig continued its routine.

The activists, who include Greenpeace's chief Kumi Naidoo, managed to put a banner on the rig saying "Don't kill the Arctic."

Prirazlomnaya was installed on the shelf of the Pechora Sea to prepare for commercial operation. It was built at the Sevmash defense shipyard in Severodvinsk for working on the field with the same name. This is the world’s first oil rig to operate under extreme climatic conditions of the Arctic: in pack ice and temperatures up to -50 degrees Centigrade. The rig foundation is 126 to 126 meters in size. Its height is 120 meters and weight is about 110,000 tonnes. The rig can store 110,000 cubic meters of crude and accommodate 200 employees. The rig can drill up to 40 wells per year and extract, give primary processing, store and dispatch hydrocarbons to tankers.

Extractable reserves of the Prirazlomnoye field are estimated at 72 million tonnes, which is sufficient for the yearly output of 6.6 million tonnes of crude. The rig will reach the rated capacity within seven years.

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