LONDON (Reuters) - Cairn Energy (CNE.L) won a court injunction against Greenpeace on Thursday, in a move that should enable the company to continue its search for oil in the Arctic without further disruption from environmental protesters.
The British oil and gas group said the district court in Amsterdam had ruled in favour of legal action designed to deter protesters who have tried twice this year to delay drilling off the Greenland coast by boarding vessels.
“Cairn Energy notes the judgement by the District Court in Amsterdam that it has decided to grant an injunction against Stitching Greenpeace Council (Greenpeace International), requiring Greenpeace International to refrain from disrupting Cairn’s lawful operations offshore Greenland,” the company said in a statement.
The court also imposed a penalty of 50,000 euros (44,375 pounds) per day of up to a maximum of 1 million euros where Cairn’s operations are disrupted as a result of failure to comply with the ruling, the company added.
Following BP’s (BP.L) Gulf of Mexico oil spill, concern about the difficulty in tackling offshore spills has increased and environmental campaigners have made Arctic drilling a key battleground.
The track record of companies suing protest groups is a chequered one, with court action often serving to garner publicity and sympathy for the campaigners.
Cairn filed the lawsuit in the Dutch courts because two of Greenpeace’s ships, the MS Esperanza and the MS Arctic Sunrise, and the Greenpeace non-profit foundation itself, are all registered in the Netherlands.
Under the lawsuit, Cairn was seeking fines of up to 2 million euros a day if Greenpeace again disrupt its activities off the coast of Greenland, where drilling must take place within a narrow summer window due to harsh weather conditions.
(Reporting by Sarah Young and Adveith Nair)
Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta