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Big Oil CEO Says Oil Drilling in Arctic Spells 'Disaster'

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Common Dreams staff

"Total admitting that an oil spill in the ice would be devastating flies in the face of the bland reassurances from the likes of Shell and Gazprom that they can operate safely in the most extreme environment on Earth," says Greenpeace. (photo: Subhankar Banerjee)

While Shell and Gazprom continue their risky Arctic oil drilling plans, one oil giant is saying it poses an environmental risk and could be a "disaster."

CEO of oil giant Total, Christophe de Margerie, is the first oil behemoth to warn against the plan, Guy Chazan at the Financial Times reports.

“Oil on Greenland would be a disaster,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company.”

Responding to de Margerie's comments, Greenpeace posts on its blog that the comments "fl[y] in the face of the bland reassurances" from other oil companies that drilling for oil in the Arctic can be done safely:

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The dangers of Arctic oil are nothing new – that’s exactly what we’ve been saying for a long time now – but this is the first time a major oil company says the same.

When an oil baron warns against Arctic drilling the world should sit up and take notice. Total admitting that an oil spill in the ice would be devastating flies in the face of the bland reassurances from the likes of Shell and Gazprom that they can operate safely in the most extreme environment on Earth.

Some cynical people might say that Total should know what kind of effect a major oil spill has on your company’s reputation – they were handed a massive fine just yesterday by a French court for the Erika oil disaster. However, this is simply a case of a company coming to its senses, and realizing some risks are not worth taking.

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