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Extinction Rebellion starts ‘week-long blockade’ of Schlumberger’s Cambridge site





Extinction Rebellion (XR) Cambridge has taken up positions for a week-long blockade outside fossil fuel giant Schlumberger’s Cambridge research centre.

XR Cambridge at the Schlumberger site on Madingley Road. Picture: Keith Heppell
XR Cambridge at the Schlumberger site on Madingley Road. Picture: Keith Heppell

The escalation, part of XR Cambridge’s ‘Schlumberger out!’ campaign is set to include a round-the-clock presence using a boat, a fake oil rig, and metal tripods to prevent vehicle access to the main entrance and service entrance.

The groups seeks to disrupt business for one week by stopping deliveries from arriving and limiting staff and visitors from entering the Schlumberger Gould Research Centre building.

XR has been protesting the Schlumberger Gould research site since January 2020, when activists locked themselves to the gate. The campaigners stepped up their protests again multiple times in 2020 and 2021. The group says its persistent actions are taking place because “Schlumberger helps fossil fuel companies find new ways to extract every last drop of oil and gas from a world gripped by climate and ecological emergency, and has deep ties to the University of Cambridge”.

Schlumberger is the world’s largest oilfields drilling company. It operates in more than 120 countries, with principal executive offices located in Paris, Houston, London, and The Hague. XR claims the Cambridge site “develops new methods of extracting oil and gas, including some of the industry's most harmful technologies: Arctic exploration, deep-sea drilling, tar sands, fracking and ‘re-fracking’”.

XR Cambridge ‘drill’ in action on fossil fuel giant’s Madingley Road site. Picture: Amelia Halls
XR Cambridge ‘drill’ in action on fossil fuel giant’s Madingley Road site. Picture: Amelia Halls

A spokesperson adds: “It is one of many fossil fuel companies with deep connections to University of Cambridge – which maintains these ties despite claiming to follow clear evidence from its own scientists that global heating must be kept below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. As well as hosting Schlumberger on its West Cambridge Site, the University provides training and resources through the Schlumberger Cambridge International Scholarship, and maintains a Schlumberger Professorship of Complex Physical Systems.”

An XR Cambridge spokesperson said: “We’re here to stay. We’ve had enough of the University of Cambridge cosying up to fossil fuel giants which are destroying out planet. Just last week, the latest IPCC report reminded us of the true impacts of climate and ecological emergency – three quarters of the world’s population could face extreme heat stress in just a few decades as temperatures rise unchecked. A billion people will be at risk of serious coastal flooding.

“We are starting to see the effects of this in the UK, now. In February, Britain was wracked by the worst storm in decades – during a week that brought three severe storms. And the fallout from the invasion of Ukraine has shown us that fossil fuel dependency leaves us vulnerable to eye-watering price rises when war and political strife hits oil and gas supplies.

XR Cambridge posters make their point outside the Schlumberger Gould research centre on Madingley Road
XR Cambridge posters make their point outside the Schlumberger Gould research centre on Madingley Road

“Schlumberger profits from our unhealthy dependence on oil and gas – yet the University continues to lend it legitimacy by hosting it on University land and providing it with a ready supply of academics to help with its fossil fuel research. We’re here today because the University has totally abandoned its moral duty to avert disaster by cosying up to planet-killers. It’s time to kick Schlumberger out of our city and off the planet.”

Another added: “There is no one Schlumberger won’t work with to make a fast buck – and the University of Cambridge seems perfectly happy to go along with that. I have to be here today because the University is enabling Schlumberger to collude in the destruction of our planet – and that has to stop.”

The University of Cambridge was approached for comment.



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