Tagged: oil

oil

Royal Dutch Shell has spent billions on its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. Despite setbacks, in the spring and summer of 2015, they were ramping up operations to go drill in areas made newly accessible by climate change. To counter the negative attention they were getting, we decided to help them out by launching a guerrilla marketing campaign to offer people a taste of the melting Arctic.

 

A Shell “street team” popped up in New York City to promote the oil giant’s big Arctic launch with a classic street food: hand-shaved ice. But it wasn’t just any ice, this was the last polar ice, shaved from ancient bergs before they’re all gone. A piraguero manning a slick “low rider” shaved-ice cart (actually artist Miguel Luciano) handed out the free red and yellow slushies, offering New Yorkers their “First Taste of the Last Frontier." Our hot-pants wearing models waved signs advertising Shell's Arctic drilling program, while we did the public outreach that Shell is too embarrassed to do themselves.

 

And it worked! Thanks to this action (and, well, thousands of activists worldwide), Shell abandoned their plans to drill in the Arctic in the foreseeable future.

 

Check out Rolling Stone’s video and article here, and more coverage on Democracy Now! here.

 

 
 
 
 
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Update Nov. 18, 2014: TransCanada freaks out, plays dirty

In towns across Canada, troupes of mischievous activists, dressed as TransCanada reps (with "SaveCanada" logos instead), successfully derailed the attempts of TransCanada (the company building the stalled Keystone XL pipeline) to ram through another Tar Sands pipeline, Energy East, which would bring over a million barrels of oil to the East Coast for export, primarily to Europe and Asia.

During previous pipeline projects, stakeholders were able to express concerns in front of their whole community. To impede this type of opposition, TransCanada changed the format of community consultations, turning them into trade-show-like promotional events where stakeholders could only speak one-on-one with company representatives, or with PR contractors hired for the occasion. 

To outwit this ploy, local activists all along the pipeline route swarmed the events dressed just like TransCanada reps, but with lookalike "SaveCanada" name tags and brochures. Instead of promoting the pipeline, the SaveCanada reps communicated the risks. They even used TransCanada's map for an impromptu game of Pin the Spill on the Pipeline.

"Since TransCanada has come up with a new way to lie to the public, we had to come up with a new way to tell the truth," said North Bay farmer Yan Roberts, who helped to launch the unusual protest. "We're friendly folks, so our solution is to dress like them, outnumber them, and ‘out-friendly’ them in every community they're trying to scam.”

Visit www.save-canada.com for more.

Selected press:

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In 2012, Royal Dutch Shell failed to drill a single hole in the Arctic off the coast of Alaska thanks to a series of dangerous blunders and mismanagement that led to the U.S. government calling the company "screwed up." This year, they trained their sights on the much less regulated waters off the coast of Russia, teaming up the Russian oil giant, Gazprom, to open up the newly accessible Russian arctic to drilling. 

Greenpeace didn't think enough people were paying attention to this, so they teamed up with the Yes Lab to create a spectacle in Amsterdam that would get people talking. 

On August 21st, a barge filled with Russian and Dutch officials, a marching band, a young Russian child singer, and a giant cage containing what appeared to be a drugged up polar bear, wound it's way through the canals of Amsterdam to the city's zoo. Gazprom held a ceremony presenting the bear to the city as a gesture of good will and partnership, launching the Polar Partners initiative, including an interactive website and video. 

The promotional video of the event immediately went viral with high-profile Twitterers like Pamela Anderson, Adam McKay, Occupy Wall Street, and 350.org tweeting their outrage.

Selected Press:

 

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Impostors posing as ExxonMobil and National Petroleum Council (NPC) representatives delivered an outrageous keynote speech to 300 oilmen at GO-EXPO, Canada's largest oil conference, held at Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta, today.

The speech was billed beforehand by the GO-EXPO organizers as the major highlight of this year's conference, which had 20,000 attendees. In it, the "NPC rep" was expected to deliver the long-awaited conclusions of a study commissioned by US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. The NPC is headed by former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond, who is also the chair of the study. (See link at end.)

In the actual speech, the "NPC rep" announced that current U.S. and Canadian energy policies (notably the massive, carbon-intensive exploitation of Alberta's oil sands, and the development of liquid coal) are increasing the chances of huge global calamities. But he reassured the audience that in the worst case scenario, the oil industry could "keep fuel flowing" by transforming the billions of people who die into oil.

"We need something like whales, but infinitely more abundant," said "NPC rep" "Shepard Wolff" (actually Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men), before describing the technology used to render human flesh into a new Exxon oil product called Vivoleum. 3-D animations of the process brought it to life.

"Vivoleum works in perfect synergy with the continued expansion of fossil fuel production," noted "Exxon rep" "Florian Osenberg" (Yes Man Mike Bonanno). "With more fossil fuels comes a greater chance of disaster, but that means more feedstock for Vivoleum. Fuel will continue to flow for those of us left."

The oilmen listened to the lecture with attention, and then lit "commemorative candles" supposedly made of Vivoleum obtained from the flesh of an "Exxon janitor" who died as a result of cleaning up a toxic spill. The audience only reacted when the janitor, in a video tribute, announced that he wished to be transformed into candles after his death, and all became crystal-clear.

At that point, Simon Mellor, Commercial & Business Development Director for the company putting on the event, strode up and physically forced the Yes Men from the stage. As Mellor escorted Bonanno out the door, a dozen journalists surrounded Bichlbaum, who, still in character as "Shepard Wolff," explained to them the rationale for Vivoleum.

"We've got to get ready. After all, fossil fuel development like that of my company is increasing the chances of catastrophic climate change, which could lead to massive calamities, causing migration and conflicts that would likely disable the pipelines and oil wells. Without oil we could no longer produce or transport food, and most of humanity would starve. That would be a tragedy, but at least all those bodies could be turned into fuel for the rest of us."

"We're not talking about killing anyone," added the "NPC rep." "We're talking about using them after nature has done the hard work. After all, 150,000 people already die from climate-change related effects every year. That's only going to go up - maybe way, way up. Will it all go to waste? That would be cruel."

Security guards then dragged Bichlbaum away from the reporters, and he and Bonanno were detained until Calgary Police Service officers could arrive. The policemen, determining that no major infractions had been committed, permitted the Yes Men to leave.

Canada's oil sands, along with "liquid coal," are keystones of Bush's Energy Security plan. Mining the oil sands is one of the dirtiest forms of oil production and has turned Canada into one of the world's worst carbon emitters. The production of "liquid coal" has twice the carbon footprint as that of ordinary gasoline. Such technologies increase the likelihood of massive climate catastrophes that will condemn to death untold millions of people, mainly poor.

"If our idea of energy security is to increase the chances of climate calamity, we have a very funny sense of what security really is," Bonanno said. "While ExxonMobil continues to post record profits, they use their money to persuade governments to do nothing about climate change. This is a crime against humanity."

"Putting the former Exxon CEO in charge of the NPC, and soliciting his advice on our energy future, is like putting the wolf in charge of the flock," said "Shepard Wolff" (Bichlbaum). "Exxon has done more damage to the environment and to our chances of survival than any other company on earth. Why should we let them determine our future?"

Click here for photos

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Insane PR Circus Rocks Holland—But It's Not that Polar Bear Thing
Hoax involves Dutch, Pamela Anderson and New Zealand Zoo
 
What seemed to be a cruel and bizarre PR campaign took over Amsterdam yesterday as a barge with an apparently drugged polar bear, a Russian child superstar, and a colorful marching band wound through Amsterdam's canals to the city zoo. There, visitors and staff watched Gazprom and Shell reps officiously give the bear to Amsterdam—before being forcibly removed by zoo security and city police.
 
A flurry of public speculation rippled through Dutch TV and online media: What could it mean? Who could have done this? Has Shell gone mad?
 
Shortly thereafter, a companion website appeared at Polar-Partners.com, just in time for Twitter to burst into flames with revelations that "Gazprom" was illegally using music in the PR event's publicity video. Pamela Anderson, Dawn Olivieri, Adam McKay, Occupy Wall Street, and various other celebs joined in the fracas, cumulatively reaching millions of fans.
 
Making things weirder, New Zealand's Auckland Zoo felt compelled to assert that it would not be receiving a bear through Gazprom's Adopt-a-Bear program. And when grainy bear cruelty photos popped up, the whole thing began to gain its own weird momentum.
 
"Our polar bear circus was absolutely insane, but not half as insane as Gazprom and Shell's Arctic deal," said James Turner of Greenpeace International. "They want to exploit melting sea ice to drill for more oil. Shell screwed up badly in Alaska last year, so they're taking advantage of Russia's weaker regulations to take huge risks over there instead."
 
"It's a national embarrassment that the most famous Dutch company is teaming up with one of the world's most notoriously corrupt state-owned corporations," said Dutch activist and Yes Lab volunteer Richelle Dumond. "Shell used to have standards, didn't they?"
 
"Gazprom made it very easy for us," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men. "Their actual PR is extremely inspiring."
 
"If you want a good laugh, just take a look at what Gazprom writes about reindeer, birds and salmon for their 'Year of Ecology' page," said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men.
 
"Not to mention launching a USB key with animal jpegs into outer space," said Sean Devlin of the Yes Lab. "Now that's inspiring."
 
"Gazprom and Shell's real PR stunt is persuading the world that they're not responsible for the collapse of our ecosystems, and that they can be trusted to drill safely in the Arctic," said Turner. "But now over 3.5 million people are ready to bust the hoax."
 
The project was a collaboration between the Yes Lab, Greenpeace International and Russian activists forced to live abroad. 
 
CONTACT: James Turner (Greenpeace International), Andy Bichlbaum (Yes Lab)
 
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Hollywood Interference Rejected By Russian Energy Company
 
Despite a celebrity setback, Gazprom is marching ahead with its "Year of Ecology" animal relocation program. Having successfully saved entire populations of reindeer, birds, and salmon, the newest phase involves relocating polar bears from endangered Arctic habitats to zoos worldwide, preserving them for future generations. "We are looking forward to supplying many zoos with a bear," said Timur Grigolyuk, Program Director of the Gazprom/Shell Polar Partnership (GSPP). "In this way we will continue celebrating the joining of Gazprom with Shell to obtain vast Russian Arctic oil reserves for use by all humanity."
 
Gazprom’s visionary polar bear adoption program continues despite an attempt at interference by Hollywood, in the form of a copyright complaint against GSPP's launch Video News Release. The video launches Gazprom's polar bear adoption program with a live action footage of donation in action.
 
The fracas has led to a Hollywood rash of unfounded criticism, which Gazprom's PR department is in the process of addressing. Meanwhile, Gazprom lawyers have temporarily removed the video as a courtesy. Gazprom guarantees that legal threats or others, will not delay Gazprom’s plans to relocate bears from oil-rich Arctic regions to needing zoos in the United States and Europe, nor to accomplish our other plans in service of humanity and wildlife.
 
"This is not the first time Russia has been targeted by the Western entertainment industry, but I assumed those dark days were far behind us," said Grigolyuk.
 
The Gazprom/Shell Polar Partnership is a brand-new venture that has been widely praised by analysts. Last year, Shell suspended Alaskan Arctic oil drilling after difficulty with American government concerning two offshore rigs. Today, Shell is partnering with Gazprom to drill in the Russian Arctic. "In some important ways, Russia is freer than America," noted Grigolyuk.
 
After a tragic 2013 rash of residential polar bear deaths in Europe and America (including in Cleveland, Maryland, Louisville and Madison), the two companies decided to celebrate their new energy partnership by bringing another valuable resource to a world in need. After all, just as the numerous polar bears in the Russian North need a home, many homes need a bear! "The Polar Partnership bear relocation program will support zoos around the world with much-needed bears from the areas in which Gazprom and Shell will operate," said Director Grigolyuk. Gazprom’s generosity will create "insurance populations," guaranteeing countless children a happy zoo visit for years to come.
 
Gazprom/Shell's polar bear relocation program is a part of Gazprom's "Year of Ecology," which most recently launched jpegs of "Year of Ecology" animals into outer space to take up a permanent home on the International Space Station.
 
Grigolyuk said, "...Accidents are part of life; failing to embrace the up and down each new day presents is the behavior of a foolish person."
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mikhail Umsky, GSPP Press Officer, press@gazprom-press.com
This news release can be found on the Gazprom website.
 
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March 15, 2011

ENBRIDGE HAIR HOAX EXPOSED
Group responsible offers free haircuts at Enbridge HQ at noon

Earlier today, the world learned of oil transport giant Enbridge’s strategy for handling inevitable oil spills along its proposed pipeline through pristine British Columbian wilderness: mop it up with human hair.

The cockamamie “MyHairCares” hoax, dreamed up by former oil workers and involving outreach to over 1000 hair salons, was promoted in a slick Video News Release and involved a flurry of conflicting press releases. The original story ran in a number of major news outlets (archive will be posted shortly here), but was pulled with no retraction or explanation after a terse denial by Enbridge that seemed to miss the point entirely. (For a longer, better denial, written on behalf of Enbridge by the pranksters, click here.)

“This was a funny way to dramatize the fact that neither Enbridge nor any other oil company can prevent spills, and that they basically have no cleanup plan,” said Shannon McPhail, a former Canadian oil worker and Canadian spokesperson for People Enbridge Ruined in Michigan (PERM), the group responsible for MyHairCares. “What's happening in Michigan proves that.”

Between 1999 and 2008 Enbridge recorded an average of more than one oil spill every week. Just last summer, an Enbridge pipeline spilled more than 800,000 gallons of oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River. Enbridge is expected to face federal criminal charges for neglecting to maintain that pipeline; they are also accused of merely covering up, not actually cleaning up the oil. Further, a joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and CBS News found that Enbridge was coercing Kalamazoo spill victims into signing liability waiver forms. “Enbridge is manipulating and exploiting people who trust the company to do the right thing,” said former US Congressman Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., Chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

“We don’t want Canadian rivers or coastlines to end up like the oily mess that Enbridge has left in a number of places around here,” said US PERM spokesperson Rick Smith.

“In the U.S. Enbridge failed to maintain their pipeline, failed to clean up their mess, and are exploiting the victims,” said McPhail. “It would be madness to let them build a pipeline in Canada, especially through one of our planet’s last great wildernesses.”

Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline would cut across the Rocky Mountains, the pristine Great Bear rain forest, and over 1,000 streams and rivers. The pipeline would carry 700,000 barrels a day of petroleum products across 1,170 kilometres between Alberta’s Tar Sands and the Pacific Coast, where supertankers would carry the crude though the treacherous Douglas Channel—an area in which currents render conventional oil containment booms useless.

“A major spill on the coast or in a river would be devastating and irreversible,” said McPhail. “Canada must not trade in our wilderness just to make some foreign oil companies rich.”

One salon owner contacted after the ruse lauded the activists’ approach to getting the media to pay attention to one of the most pressing environmental issues in North America. "I wasn't tricked, I was educated,” said Brian Phillips, owner of World Salon in Toronto. “I had no idea what the people in Michigan were going through with Enbridge. We shouldn’t invite that treatment here in Canada.”

People Enbridge Ruined In Michigan (PERM) cooked up the “My Hair Cares” action with guidance from The Yes Men, as part of the Yes Lab for Creative Activism. Tomorrow, Canadian members of PERM will introduce themselves to the public during a noon press conference in front of Enbridge’s Vancouver offices. Free haircuts will available for all, and all clippings collected then (as well as any clippings mailed in by salons) will be donated to Michigan PERM members still struggling to clean up Enbridge’s mess in their community.

“Enbridge spends millions trying to convince people there's no problem,” noted McPhail. “We had to be a bit clever to compete with that.”

FREE HAIRCUTS: 12 noon PST, 505 Burrard St., Vancouver, CA

VIDEO DOWNLOAD: www.MyHairCares.com

CONTACTS:
Shannon McPhail (Smithers, BC), Canadian PERM spokesperson, 250-842-2494, shannon@kispioxriver.com
Rick Smith (Michigan), US PERM spokesperson: 269-425-1822, permkzoo@gmail.com
Sean Devlin (Vancouver) , The Yes Lab: 778.321.7306, sean@yeslab.org

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After Chevron's PR disaster, RAN, AmazonWatch and the Yes Lab decided to push it further, and enlist the public's help in making sure Chevron couldn't sweep Ecuador under their greenwashed rug. The result? ChevronThinksWereStupid.org.

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