16 Jan 2011

Greenpeace criticises BP oil deal

7:53 am on 16 January 2011

The environmental group Greenpeace has criticised a deal between oil company BP and Russian state-run energy giant Rosneft to drill for oil in the Arctic.

The companies on Friday agreed to a multi-billion-dollar share swap, under which they will jointly explore for offshore oil in a deal that gives BP access to areas of the Arctic previously reserved for Russian firms.

The firms will explore in three areas on the Russian Arctic continental shelf covering 125,000 square kilometres in an area of the South Kara Sea.

Greenpeace says BP has learned nothing from its failures in the Gulf of Mexico.

Noting the fragility of the Arctic, Greenpeace spokesperson Charlie Kronick said BP had "bought its way into the Arctic by the back door."

The deal is is BP's first since the devastating Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April last year, the BBC reports.

Since the rig disaster, BP has been disposing of assets.

The new deal is backed by the Russian government.