Shell Oil's exploratory Arctic drilling doesn't begin until this summer, but according to this recently-released video, they're already off to a poor start.
The video -- which purports to have been shot at a "private send-off for Shell's arctic rigs ... at the Seattle Space Needle" -- depicts a cocktail dispenser modeled after an oil derrick, which violently erupts all over a female partygoer.
Yet the clip, which claims to have been clandestinely shot by Occupy Seattle activist Logan Price, is apparently a spoof. Gawker notes that the website of the event's supposed organizers, a communications firm called Wainwright & Shore, was only registered a month ago, by "a lefty-radical hosting company."
Additionally, a Shell spokesperson allegedly told Grist Thursday, "I can confirm that this was not a Shell event.”
UPDATE 6/8 1:00pm: A Greenpeace press release announced that "Greenpeace, the Yes Lab, and members of the Occupy movement are claiming responsibility" for the Shell video. James Turner, a Greenpeace organizer, said in the press release, “This experience shows that a few energized people can compete with the billions that Shell spends on advertising and lobbying. As people find out how this oil company is exploiting global warming to cause yet more global warming, thus endangering everyone, they won’t allow it, no matter how many billions Shell has in its war chest.”
Scroll down for a video revealing the elaborate hoax.
UPDATE 6/7 6:10pm: Further complicating the situation, a press release claiming to have been sent from email@example.com was e-mailed out later in the day. The e-mail claimed, "Lawyers operating on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell plc. (Shell) are considering formal action against unknown activists who staged a counterfeit campaign launch event at the Seattle Space Needle."
StateImpact Pennsylvania alleges, "We called Shell to confirm the legitimacy of the press release. And a Shell spokeswoman says.… the company didn’t put the press release out."
A phone call to the number from the email statement, claiming to be Shell Media Relations, neither confirmed nor denied the press release. The number given in the press release is a Houston-based cell phone number possibly tied to a Wainwright & Shore employee, a group that Gawker writes may be connected to the spoof video. A call to Shell's Media Relations line, connected through their website, was not immediately returned.
No matter what is real vs. fake, environmentalists remain genuinely concerned about Shell's upcoming Arctic exploration.
As Price himself tweeted:
Several weeks ago, eight groups appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the EPA air permit granted to Shell's drilling ship, the Kulluk. Earthjustice attorney Colin O'Brien said, according to AP, "EPA did not analyze whether the Kulluk will comply with all standards, and they relied on modeling tricks to reduce the measured impact."
Shell was granted permits to drill in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska by the federal government in March. Government estimates place "26.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas" under the Arctic outer continental shelf, explained AP.
WATCH #ShellFAIL viral campaign revealed:
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