activists protest climate and Israel genocide complicity

  • Post last modified:March 22, 2024
  • Reading time:11 mins read

On Thursday 21 March, protesters in London and across Norway assembled outside the offices of Norwegian fossil fuel giant Equinor, the majority owner of the climate-wrecking Rosebank project. In particular, the demonstrations took the company to task for its partnership with Ithaca Energy and its links to Israel’s genocide and illegal land-grabs in Palestine.

“Ithaca out” – activists protest Rosebank partners

At Equinor’s UK headquarters in Paddington, Fossil Free London activists carried banners reading “Stop Rosebank” and “Drop Ithaca”:

Fossil Free London protesters hold banners declaring "Ithaca Kills" while an activist marches with a megaphone in front.

Fossil Free London activists hold one half of a banner which reads "Ithaca Kills". One protester is wrapped in the Palestinian flag.

Fossil Free London activists stand in a line in front of Equinor's entrance at Paddington. One holds a megaphone, while the rest raise a banner which reads "Ithaca Kills".

Activists outside the London office shouted “Ithaca out” while standing in a line across its main entrance:

Meanwhile, activists from Aksjon for Palestina, Stopp Oljeletinga (Just Stop Oil Norway) and Extinction Rebellion Norway blocked four Equinor offices across Norway:

Rosebank – “the giant of climate collapse”

In September 2023, the UK government issued a license to Norwegian energy giant Equinor and pure fossil fuel company Ithaca Energy.

Situated off the coast of Shetland in the North Sea, campaigners have estimated that the enormous project will produce over 500m barrels of oil over its lifetime. Significantly, this would equate to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the 28 lowest-income countries combined.

Moreover, while the UK public will shoulder the vast majority of the costs, Rosebank profits will flow to the two major oil and gas corporations.

According to research by Uplift, UK tax breaks and subsidy arrangements will mean that the UK taxpayer could foot the bill for over 90% of the project’s costs. On top of this, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Norway calculated that a generous tax break in the windfall tax would lead to UK government losses of over £100m over the course of Rosebank’s lifetime.

Spokesperson for Fossil Free London Joanna Warrington said of the project and the cross-border demonstrations:

Drilling new oil is like shaking awake a sleeping giant – senseless, careless, and threatening to everyone in the vicinity. But Equinor keeps shaking awake the giant of climate collapse while ordinary people suffer the devastation of natural systems and financial and health impacts of dependency on oil and gas.

From London to Oslo we resist Equinor to make them stop Rosebank, and all new oil and gas, so everyone can live.

Supporting Israel’s genocide and occupation of Palestine

However, the protesters pulled Equinor up on more than just the climate-wrecking costs of its gargantuan North Sea project.

As the Canary previously reported, Ithaca Energy is owned by Israeli conglomerate the Delek Group, which the UN has featured:

on its list of 112 companies operating in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Moreover, we pointed out that the Delek Group is:

also involved in the extraction of oil and gas from disputed maritime areas of the Levant Basin.

Meanwhile, the company is additionally a shareholder of Delek Israel Fuel. The subsidiary operates various gas and service stations in and around Israeli settlements. Perhaps most significantly, it supplies fuel to various arms of the Israeli occupation forces.

As such, Ithaca funnels much of its profits to Delek – and by proxy, likely props up Israel’s criminal occupation. In fact, Novara Media estimated that Ithaca would send $355m of its $400m planned dividends for 2023 to its parent company.

Therefore, activists in Norway urged their government to intervene. Specifically, during their protest, they demanded their government use its power as the majority owner (67%) of Equinor to end its ties to Rosebank and Ithaca.

Equinor “closing its eyes to genocide”

Notably, protesters referred to Norway’s policy of:

refraining from doing business with companies involved in activities contrary to international law.

Moreover, Norway recently advised companies against conducting trade and business with Israeli settlements.

Frida Steinbakk from Norwegian group Stopp Oljeletinga attended the protest in the Norwegian town of Florø. She said:

Today I am embarrassed to be a Norwegian citizen. My government has the power, as the majority owner, to stop Equinor’s Rosebank project but they actively choose not to. Not only is Rosebank a carbon bomb which will be catastrophic to the world’s climate; by partnering with Ithaca Equinor is also closing its eyes to the genocide happening to the Palestinian people.

As a Norwegian I say enough is enough. We cannot stand by while our government owned oil company trashes our future. We as Norwegians stand in solidarity with all those resisting Equinors dangerous projects all over the world.

The protests followed efforts by over 80 non-profits on Wednesday 20 March to hold 12 Rosebank financiers to account for their complicity in Israel’s ongoing Palestinian genocide and apartheid regime.

Fossil Free London have also previously targeted UK oil and gas giant BP over its oil and gas exploration licenses off the coast of Gaza.

Until recently, the fossil fuel major had also planned to acquire 50% of Delek Group’s subsidiary NewMed, who Israel also granted a license. As of 13 March, BP put its offer on hold reportedly due to uncertainty in the “external environment”.

Featured image and additional images via Fossil Free London

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