Greenpeace’s flagship Rainbow Warrior blocked a tanker on Thursday from delivering crude oil from Norway to Sweden’s Lysekil refinery in a protest against plans to expand it, the advocacy group said.
The 850-tonne sailboat decorated in rainbow colors dropped anchor in a fjord near the installation owned by Sweden’s largest refiner Preem to block passage for the Grena Knutsen carrying crude from Norway’s Gullfaks oilfield.
“We will not let any crude oil to the refinery until Preem stops its plans to expand,” said Greenpeace member Gustav Martner during a live feed from Rainbow Warrior as it lowered anchor.
A spokesman for Preem confirmed to Reuters that Greenpeace was blocking the tanker but said police were negotiating with the crew.
Swedish police had no immediate comment.
Sweden’s minority coalition of Social Democrats and Greens must decide whether to allow the 15 billion crown ($1.72 billion) expansion of the refinery after a court ruled in June that there were no legal grounds to block it.
Greenpeace says the refinery’s expansion would result in increasing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 1 million tonnes per year, making it the largest source of CO2 emissions in the country.
Preem said the emissions would be reduced in the future by using carbon capture and storage (CCS) and producing more biofuels.
Swedish climate activists Greta Thunberg said last week that Sweden would fail to live up to its commitments to the Paris Agreement if it allows the expansion.
Preem, owned by Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi, is the largest refining company in Sweden, accounting for about 80% of market share.
($1 = 8.7014 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Johan Ahlander in Gothenburg and Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)