BP’S rig operator will today ask Scottish courts to jail Greenpeace’s boss and punish the campaigning group with huge fines.

The offshore drilling contractor Transocean is taking legal action against the environmental campaigning group after activists blocked a BP rig from drilling new oil wells in the North Sea for 12 days last summer.

Transocean secured an interim interdict, with BP’s consent, which Greenpeace is accused of breaching by continuing its protest.

Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven faces up to two years in prison, and Greenpeace faces unlimited fines if found to be in contempt of court.

Sauven said: “Six months after our rig action ended, and after getting a permanent interdict against Greenpeace, BP’s rig operator Transocean is desperately doing everything it can to scare us off.

“But we will not be silenced. We will stand up proudly in court to defend our peaceful protest.”

READ MORE: Shell wins court order against Greenpeace boarding platforms

READ MORE: Greenpeace activists end North Sea oil platform demonstration

In Edinburgh’s Court of Session before judge Lady Wolffe, Greenpeace will argue that its actions to disrupt the BP rig were necessary in order to prevent BP from worsening the global climate emergency by drilling wells to extract 30 million barrels of oil.

The environmental group argues that any new development of oil and gas fields would be disastrous for the climate.

The legal fight stems from the actions of Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, which shadowed the Transocean rig and prevented it from reaching the oil field in June.

The rig was bound for the Vorlich oil field when it was occupied by activists in the Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness.

At the time, BP condemned the “reckless” protest.

In a separate legal case, Greenpeace has been granted permission to judicially review BP’s drilling permit for the Vorlich oil field east of Aberdeen.

Greenpeace contests that the permit is unlawful because there was no proper public consultation on the plans.

The permit was never officially published by the Government, which meant BP’s permit could not be challenged by the public.

BP’s new chief executive Bernard Looney has attempted to reassure campaigners that BP has turned over a new leaf on climate. However, Greenpeace claims there is no change in BP’s current plans to spend $71bn on new oil and gas development this decade.

A spokesperson for the environmental group commented: “Today’s hearing is Big Oil’s latest attempt to stifle climate campaigners through legal action.

“In December Shell secured a ban on Greenpeace International targeting its North Sea oil rigs in the Brent field.”

Shell’s lawyers are Pinsent Masons, the same law firm which is representing Transocean in today’s case.