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Planet Ark World Environment News Green Group Urges Caution On BP, Rosneft Drilling

Date: 19-Jan-11
Country: NORWAY
Author: REUTERS

Green Group Urges Caution On BP, Rosneft Drilling Photo: Luke MacGregor
BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg (L) shakes hands with Rosneft president Eduard Khudainatov at BP headquarters in London January 14, 2011.
Photo: Luke MacGregor

The WWF conservation group urged Russia on Tuesday to limit any new oil drilling in the Russian Arctic until cleaner technology was available, saying a joint venture between BP and Rosneft was premature.

"Not just in Russia, but all around the Arctic, it is clear that there is neither the technology nor the capacity to respond to oil spills," Alexander Shestakov, director of WWF's Global ArcticProgramme, said in a statement.

"We are asking the Russian government and all governments to hold off on any new oil drilling until the companies involved can prove they can effectively clean up a spill in that environment," he said.

He added that "if the Russian government is determined to push ahead with new oil drilling in the Kara Sea, WWF believes that it should at the very least ensure a rigorous environmental assessment and full set of preventive measures to be in place first."

On Friday, BP agreed to a share swap and Arctic exploration deal with state-controlled Rosneft.

WWF said the two were "jumping the gun on oil exploration in (the) Russian Arctic," especially after BP's 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Noting the environmental records of the two oil companies, WWF Russia says it is nervous about the prospects of them working together in the Arctic," it said.

(Editing by Keiron Henderson)

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