activists protest profiteering from climate crisis and genocide

  • Post last modified:March 28, 2024
  • Reading time:14 mins read

Israeli-owned fossil fuel company Ithaca Energy has announced a year of staggering profits from its oil and gas drilling in the North Sea.

Now, the climate crisis and apartheid-mongering fossil fuel corporation is on track to become the UK’s largest North Sea oil and gas operator.

So, climate activists have once again turned up the heat.

Ithaca – fueling the climate crisis

Ithaca Energy is one of the largest oil and gas companies operating in the UK. Specifically, the company owns shares in six of the UK’s ten largest oil fields.

If this wasn’t enough, it has a significant stake in two of the largest pre-development fields. This includes 100% ownership of the carbon bomb Cambo oil field and a 20% stake in the even more climate-catastrophic Rosebank oil field.

For Cambo’s part, the project will belch 132 million tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere over the course of its lifetime. Rosebank is worse. The oil and gas behemoth will spew out over 200 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Or in human terms – the emissions equivalent of the 28 lowest income countries.

Of course, these would be a disaster for the climate. However, as both people and the planet are set to lose out, Ithaca will stand to gain stonking profits from manufacturing this climate misery.

Already, it is profiting from destruction.

Dividends flowing from the North Sea

Ithaca’s extensive drilling projects in the North Sea netted the oil and gas company $215.6m in profits for 2023.

On Wednesday 27 March, Ithaca dropped its full year financial results. The figures painted a stark picture for the climate, as profits poured out from another booming year of oil and gas production.

However, as the Canary has previously pointed out, these profits are also likely propping up Israel’s genocide in Gaza, and violent ethnic cleansing in the West Bank.

Specifically, Israeli conglomerate Delek Group owns the UK big North Sea oil and gas player. Notably, the UN has featured Delek:

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

In particular, this list records corporations in settlements that are regarded as illegal under international law. 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.

Since Delek Group owns the majority shares in Ithaca of 88.5%, Ithaca channels much of its oil and gas takings back up to its parent company. Invariably, some of this funds Delek’s contentious operations in occupied Palestine.

Crucially, we highlighted Novara Media’s research, which found that:

Ithaca would send $355m of its $400m planned dividends for 2023 to its parent company.

Naturally, the accounts confirmed that the company met its target. So, it will funnel some $355m in oil money into the pockets of violent Israeli settler colonisers and genocidaires oppressing Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. In other words, so long as Ithaca’s Israeli parent company siphons profits from the North Sea, Palestine cannot be free.

Dominating North Sea oil and gas

To make matters worse, the company is only looking to expand its oily reach further.

For one, the company bagged itself a number of new UK oil and gas licenses at the end of October 2023. Of course, this was in the height of Israel’s brutal genocidal siege on Gaza.

Not only that, Ithaca now plans to dominate the North Sea’s fossil fuel sector. Soon, the pure fossil fuel company will be the biggest player in North Sea oil and gas. As Jonathan Leake revealed for Yahoo Finance and the Telegraph, Ithaca has struck a deal with Italian oil and gas major ENI.

This will see the company take over four major platforms in some of the UK’s largest oil and gas fields. As such, the company anticipates its production to double, soaring past 100,000 barrels a day.

For context, Equinor and Ithaca project that their climate-wrecking Rosebank oil field will produce 70,000 barrels of oil per day during its first seven years of peak oil production.

What’s more, the deal would enable Ithaca to break into new European oil and gas markets to boot. As Leake reported:

A key prize in the deal with Eni is that it includes Neptune Energy, a private-equity backed company that produces oil and gas from UK fields but also controls fields in seven other countries, including Norway, Germany, Algeria, the Netherlands and Indonesia.

“Ithaca kills”

Given all this, climate activists haven’t stood idly by.

First, on 20 March, over 80 organisations wrote to the CEOs of 12 major banks. They called on the large financiers to stop funding the minority owner of the gargantuan Rosebank project. Notably, the letter called out the company’s link to Delek and by extension, its complicity in Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestine.

In particular, grassroots climate group Fossil Free London has staged a series of actions shining a light on the company’s destructive operations. So next, its activists took Norwegian fossil fuel giant Equinor to task for its Rosebank partnership with Ithaca.

On Thursday 21 March, Fossil Free London descended on Equinor’s London offices. In tandem, activists from Aksjon for Palestina, Stopp Oljeletinga (Just Stop Oil Norway) and Extinction Rebellion Norway blocked four Equinor offices across Norway.

Now, Fossil Free London has once again dialled up the heat – this time directly targeting Ithaca itself.

Coinciding with the company’s full year financial results announcement, activists demonstrated outside its London office.

Actvists hold Palestinian flags and a banner which reads "Ithaca Kills" outside the company's London office building.

Activists chanted “Ithaca leave it in the ground” and engaged with employees as they entered the office.

Activists engage with employees as they enter Ithaca's offices. Banner reads: "Ithaca Kills".

Activists hand information leaflets to Ithaca employees.

They held banners reading ‘Ithaca Kills’ in front of the entrance.

Activists hold Palestinian flags and a placard that reads "Oil + gas have got to go"

An activist raises a sign that reads: "Wanted - Ithaca Energy - for apartheid colonialism & climate destruction. Reward: a liveable future."

“From Rosebank to the West Bank”

Ostensibly, the group aims to draw attention to Ithaca’s role in both the climate crisis, and Israel’s genocidal and violent colonial occupation of Palestine. Spokesperson for Fossil Free London Joanna Warrington said:

We know that burning fossil fuels are destroying our only home and each new barrel of oil means more human suffering. Yet Ithaca wants to drill two more massive oil fields, quietly profiting from destruction whilst we burn. Their profit is our loss.

From Rosebank to the Westbank, millions in profit will be sent to a sister company operating illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine. Ithaca does not have as big a reputation for dirty business as the likes of Shell and BP, but they should be said in the same breath. We should be ashamed to have a company like this operating in the UK.

Needless to say, climate activists connecting the dots between fossil fuel extractivism and violent imperial impulses will keep protesting against shameless corporate opportunists like Ithaca. And they won’t stop until Ithaca is finally “out” of oil and gas, and Israel out of Palestine for good.

Featured image and additional images via Fossil Free London

Source link