Reacting to the Greenpeace assault on an offshore production platform last year, Russia will likely criminalize trespass on its oil and gas installations, the Voice of Russia reported.

“Deputies [of the State Duma] are preparing for reviewing the amendments to the law ‘On continental shelf.’  The new version of this document provides for imprisonment or compulsory labour for a period of up to five years for penetration of oil and gas shelf facilities and inflicting bodily injury to employees of this facility.”

In September, two Greenpeace activists with climbing gear scaled the side of Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform.

Russia then arrested 29 activists and seized the Arctic Sunrise ship in the Barents Sea. The crew and ship were later released.

First Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on Transport Mikhail Bryatchak said the trespassing poses a threat of damage to the oil and gas facilities that could lead to pollution, fires and explosions.

He said facilities in arctic zones are particularly vulnerable and need to be protected.

“The current new challenge obliges Russia to introduce a rule into its national legislation, which will be adequate to the threat that comes from persons attempting unauthorized intrusions into objects of particular danger, which entails a threat of an ecological tragedy and a threat to life and health of people.”

The Russian government is also concerned about the risk of a terrorist threat, Bryatchak said.

“As far as we know, in a varying degree, such restrictions were imposed from the point of view of terrorist attacks. As far as platforms are concerned, first of all, these are restrictions on approaching vessels,” he said.

The Greenpeace activists were accused of endangering personal safety of employees and property of the platform.

Under the new law, any approach to oil and gas facilities within a three-mile exclusion zone would itself be a criminal offense.


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