Climate activists occupy Total oil platform in Danish North Sea

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Four Greenpeace activists swam 500 metres to climb on to an unmanned oil production platform operated by Total in the North Sea on Tuesday, prompting the French company to halt output on it.

The activists climbed the Dan Bravo oil platform located 210 kilometres west of Denmark to protest against oil and gas exploration in Danish territorial waters, the environmentalist group said.

Denmark, which has one of the most ambitious climate targets, is broadly seen as a pioneer in climate change, but the government is weighing arguments on whether to proceed with a previously announced North Sea oil and gas tender.

A Total spokeswoman said production of around 5,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day was temporarily halted at the unmanned platform as a safety precaution.

Danish police said they were aware of the situation but would not take any action unless requested to do so by the owner.

“We are peacefully occupying the Dan Bravo oil rig today to tell leaders that unless they are brave enough to ban the search for new oil and gas in Denmark, they will never be the green frontrunners they claim to be,” one of the activists, Ida Marie, said in a statement.

Current oil production plans in the Danish North Sea extends until 2050, when the Nordic country expects to be carbon neutral. But if licences are awarded and discoveries are made, they could stretch production beyond 2050.

The four activists swam from the Rainbow Warrior vessel to reach the rig, since safety regulations forbid vessels from entering a zone around it.

Total bought the field and 14 others from Denmark’s Maersk in 2018.

Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; additional reporting by Tim Barsoe; editing by Robert Birsel and Jason Neely