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Greenpeace activists board rig bound for North Sea Vorlich project

London — Greenpeace environmental protesters are preventing the Transocean rig Paul B Loyd Jr from moving to the Vorlich oil project being developed by BP in the North Sea, the company said Monday.

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The activists boarded the rig as it was leaving the Cromarty Firth in northern Scotland under tow on Sunday, Greenpeace said. They demanded BP "immediately end drilling new wells and switch to investing only in renewable energy," it said.

It comes after Greenpeace activists last month blocked the entrance to BP's London headquarters using heavy boxes, and hung banners across the building.

"They have provisions to stay in place for days," Greenpeace said of the protesters on the drilling rig.

BP said the rig was on its way to carry out development drilling at the field, but was now delayed. Vorlich is due to start producing oil and condensate next year, routing supplies via Ithaca Energy's Stella facility.

"We're working with Transocean and the local authorities in the area to try to reach a resolution swiftly. It's a work in progress," a BP spokesman said.

"We share the protesters' concerns about the climate. We support the Paris agreement," BP added in a statement. "While we recognize the right for peaceful protest, the actions of this group are irresponsible and may put themselves and others unnecessarily at risk."

--Nick Coleman, nick.coleman@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Dart, newsdesk@spglobal.com