Skip to content
View Featured Image

Extinction Rebellion Protested Around The Entire North Sea

In an unprecedented act of coordinated international climate protest, Extinction Rebellion activists from the UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands protested in solidarity with each other against new North Sea fossil fuels extraction. Under the campaign North Sea Fossil Free acts of civil disobedience happened all around the North Sea.

Governments Promoting New Fossil Fuel Extraction

The governments of these six countries are permitting new fossil extraction infrastructure, harming not only the North Sea ecosystem, but also committing the whole world to dangerous levels of warming. None of the major North Sea fossil fuel-producing countries have plans to curtail drilling in alignment with the 1.5°C target. This was confirmed by a recent report.

Despite international climate pledges, new sites for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea are still being continuously permitted.

The IPCC, UNEP, and IEA are clear in their reports: expanding oil and gas production will take us far off course for our climate goals. If we continue to extract and burn fossil fuels at the current rate, our CO2 budget to stay below 1.5°C will run out in about five years.

As our planet warms, so do our seas. This increases pressure on marine ecosystems, increasing the risk of extinctions. UNEP 2021 warned of the inconsistency between net zero targets and continued investments in new fossil infrastructure. UN secretary-general António Guterres has described investment in new fossil infrastructure at this point as “moral and economic madness”.

Extinction Rebellion Form A Protest Ring Around The North Sea

So, on Saturday 16 March, activists came together in a series of actions to demand all North Sea Oil countries align their drilling plans with the Paris Agreement now.


Extinction Rebellion and Scientists Rebellion blocked all main access roads to Shell’s Pernis refinery – the largest refinery in Europe:

Shell plans to increase and expand production in the North Sea. It has been granted a permit for new gas drilling in the Victory Gas Field in and in April 2023 it resumed the Pierce Field production.

At the same time, Shell is allowing the old drilling platforms and pipelines in the North Sea to rust away. These disintegrating oil and gas pipelines in the North Sea can poison the sea with mercury, radioactive lead and polonium.


Climate activists from Ende Gelände blocked access to the floating LNG terminal in the industrial port of Brunsbüttel:

They demanded an immediate stop to imports of liquefied natural gas. According to the latest scientific studies, liquefied natural gas is more harmful to the climate than coal. A floating LNG terminal is currently in operation in Brunsbüttel, which is to be replaced by a fixed terminal in 2026/27.


Extinction Rebellion Norway shut down Rafnes Petroleum Refinery. Extinction Rebellion activists entered the security zone with a boat:

Dozens of activists blocked the main entrance on land:

Activists refused to move themselves.


Activists from Fossil Free Future Denmark performed a protest concert with band Octopussy Riot. They entered TotalEnergies premises in Esbjerg harbour, occupying parts of it:

Artist Linh Le said:

We octopuses have formed the band Octopussy Riot and have arrived here to play our song, a demand for you two-legs to stop oil and gas extraction. The sea is dying, our climate collapsing. We will not accept that the most rich and powerful destroy our home. We do not want to go extinct.


Extinction Rebellion Sweden blocked the road to the Oil Harbour in Gothenburg:

The group has been taking action against the harbour since May 2022. Then, activists slow walked in the streets of downtown with banners:


Across Scotland, local groups supported the continental actions with banner drops in locations of strategic importance to the proposed development of new North Sea oil and gas.

At a striking coastal location on the Moray Firth which could be devastated if there was an oil spill, Extinction Rebellion Forres organised performances from the black-clad “oil slicks” performance troupe:

Shetland Stop Rosebank dropped banners at Lerwick Harbour – the main port supporting the first phase of the proposed Rosebank oil and gas field:

In Aberdeen, the offices of Equinor and Ithaca (who own 80% and 20% of Rosebank respectively) were targeted with banners which read: “NORTH SEA FOSSIL FREE”, “STOP ROSEBANK” and “SEA KNOWS NO BORDERS”:

Exploiting Shared Waters

These countries are interconnected through the exploitation of their shared waters, while the effects of these harmful initiatives are affecting the climate far beyond this northern corner of the world.

The North Sea countries are branding themselves as leading countries within the green transition, all the while allowing global companies like Equinor, Shell, and Total Energies to open new oil and gas fields.

Projects like the Rosebank Oil field in the UK, deep seabed mining in Norway, and the re-opening of the Tyra II gas field in Denmark are accelerating the global climate and ecological crisis. A large part of all oil processed in the refineries in ​​​​Gothenburg harbour in Sweden is extracted from the North Sea.

Extinction Rebellion said:

Northern Europe’s oil and gas addiction is not only creating an ecological crisis in our own backyards, it is also fueling and profiting from the global climate crisis with no regard for people in the most affected areas. We acknowledge this devastating irony.

Three Extinction Rebellion Demands

It is demanding:

  • NO NEW OIL AND GAS INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE NORTH SEA: Stop all plans to licence and financially support projects with new fossil infrastructure immediately. Align drilling plans with the Paris Agreement now.
  • TELL THE TRUTH: Governments and companies must be honest about climate change. We demand honesty regarding energy security and affordability, because North Sea oil and gas will not make energy more affordable​​​​​​. Governments must stop their jobwashing of new offshore projects. There are no jobs on a dead planet.
  • TAKE ACTION TOWARDS A JUST GREEN TRANSITION: Protect people and the environment by creating genuine and viable alternatives to fossil domination. This includes no LNG expansion, credible alternatives for workers, consideration for wildlife and letting people decide through citizens assemblies.

The North Sea: Governments Promoting A “Dirty Lie”

Jonas Kittelsen, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Norway, said:

I’m ashamed to be a Norwegian. Norway profits massively from aggressively expanding our oil and gas sector, causing mass suffering and death globally. My government portrays us as better than the rest of the world, which we are not.

Bram Kroezen, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Netherlands, said:

The fossil industry and our governments want us to believe that gas from the North Sea is clean, but clean gas is a dirty lie.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is presented as an alternative to continued North Sea gas extraction. However, LNG is not a cleaner fuel that will help the energy transition, in most cases, LNG is more harmful for the environment than coal.

In Germany, Ende Gelände are protesting the establishment of an LNG terminal being built along the North Sea coast. Experts have shown that the establishment of LNG infrastructure will lock us into fossil fuel use for the coming decades.

Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.