Hit report. In the last few hours, climate activists broke all the front windows of Schlumberger’s fossil fuel research centre located on the University of Cambridge’s West Site. Reporting their actions to the direct action website This Is Not a Drill this morning, the activists said they did this in reaction to the news that over a third of Pakistan had been flooded due to climate change caused by oil and gas extraction. They targeted Schlumberger because it’s the world’s biggest fossil fuel services company and the largest provider of oil and gas technology to fossil fuel companies in the world. The research centre targeted is of strategic importance as it’s one of just five the company has around the world.
One participant, who did not give their name, said: “Schlumberger is the home of oil and gas in Cambridge. They’re the biggest offshore drilling company in the world and do untold harm to us. They have 36,000 fossil fuel technology patents, work with every single major oil company, and have a test oil drill in their Cambridge research centre connected to huge tanks of mud to simulate drilling the seabed. Their well-paid scientists and engineers could absolutely find jobs in renewables or other positive sectors if they wanted to, but it seems they just don’t care that their work kills people or that their employer steals and destroys land and water from indigenous people. The company is evil. They have to go.”
Another anonymous activist said: “We’re so tired from the anger and despair we feel towards the University of Cambridge, our government, and other institutions that are supposed to be doing good but constantly and by default do the opposite. They pay for, host, and promote these awful companies who murder our friends in the Global South and destroy the planet simply to make money. We’re tired of trying again and again to make positive change in a system designed to ignore us while rich companies, insulated for now from the carnage, laugh at our suffering. We’re done blocking roads and we’re done chanting. We’ve come to disarm fossil fuel companies wherever we find them and we call anyone else who can’t stand the death and indifference any longer to join us. Pick your target – there are plenty in Cambridge and thousands more around the UK. Together, decentralised, we can dismantle the fossil fuel empire that cares more about its executives’ private jets than it does about our lives.”
The website has reported numerous actions since it launched in July 2022. On separate occasions, groups of protestors threw black paint over the University of Cambridge’s Chemistry and Maths departments due to their research links and sponsorship deals with BP, Shell, Schlumberger, and several arms companies. The Maths department had previously advertised its sponsorship by the oil company Shell, but the webpage was taken down from their website the day after the action took place.
In the first action This Is Not a Drill reported, protestors broke windows at the University of Cambridge’s BP Institute (which has since had the “BP” removed from its name) and its CASP building where 12 fossil fuel companies sponsor research into extended oil and gas extraction around the planet. They also threw black paint over Aveva – whose global headquarters are next to Schlumberger on University of Cambridge land – because of its extensive work writing software enabling “19 of [the] top 20 petroleum companies, over 300 refineries, most of the world’s petrochemical crackers, and 900K miles of pipeline”. Aveva and Schlumberger have also announced an agreement to advance digitalised oil and gas production.
This Is Not a Drill describes itself as an “action reporting site” – it does not know about the actions reported to it before they happen and it doesn’t know who carries them out. It values anonymity highly and implores anyone who wants to take action against fossil fuels to do so in a way that doesn’t harm any person or animal. Its website states that “fossil fuel companies must be disarmed” alongside a recent famous quote from António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN: “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”