Cairn Energy face further difficulties as a cross-party committee of MPs has called for a moratorium on Arctic gas and oil drilling.

In a report published today (20 September 2012), the Environmental Audit Committee calls for a halt to Arctic explorations until stronger safeguards are in place.

Cairn Energy said in August 2012 that it would continue to search for oil in the Arctic despite two years of unsuccessful exploration, a half-year pre-tax loss of $50m, and inadequate spill response plans.

Per Fischer, Communications Officer, Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Cairn shouldn’t be drilling i the Arctic in the first place, and indeed couldn’t be, were it not for the fact that climate change is opening up this territory by shrinking the ice caps. The company shows a complete lack of concern for the fragile Arctic environment.

“The committee is right to call for a stop for Arctic drilling until stricter financial liability for oil companies are in place, and until further independent research on the environmental side-effects of such risky endeavours has been conducted.”

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland t: 0131 243 2719 e: pfischer@foe-scotland.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1. In the report, Protecting the Arctic, the Environmental Audit Committee calls for a halt on drilling until:

A pan-Arctic oil spill response standard is in placeA stricter financial liability regime for oil and gas operations is introduced that requires companies to prove that they can meet the costs of cleaning up.An oil and gas industry group is set up to peer-review companies’ spill response plans and operating practices, reporting publicly.Further independent research and testing on oil spill response techniques in Arctic conditions is conducted, including an assessment of their environmental side-effects.An internationally recognised environmental sanctuary is established in at least part of the Arctic.

2. Cairn Energy half-yearly results 2012
www.foes.do/PUFM5S

3. Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days – The Guardian
www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/23/arctic-sea-ice-record-low

4. Cairn Energy loss eases; outlines exploration plan – Marketwatch
www.marketwatch.com/story/cairn-energy-narrows-pretax-loss-to-50-million-2012-08-28

5. Friends of the Earth Scotland is * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk