Fuel giant Shell has spoken out about an abandoned demonstration against the company by environmentalists.

Members of Greenpeace had started to walk the line that carries the Thames cable car to deliver a message to Shell workers in Canary Wharf, protesting against the company’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic.

After the group halted the protest was abandoned due to the cable’s lack of stability, Shell called on the environmentalists to “engage constructively” in a debate.

A spokesman for the oil giant said: “Shell respects the right of people to protest against the activities we undertake to ensure the world’s energy needs are met, providing they do so safely with regard to themselves and others, and act within the law.

“However, it is disappointing that Greenpeace chooses to focus on mounting publicity stunts rather than engage constructively in the debate about how to meet the world’s growing demand for energy while reducing CO2 emissions.

“We believe we can play an important role in developing the Arctic’s energy resources.

“We choose to explore there because we have the expertise and experience to operate responsibly and be profitable at the same time.

“Many Arctic peoples and governments agree with that judgment. They support the opportunity to explore for oil and gas in their territories and those governments have awarded Shell the licences to conduct those operations.

“The reality is that hydrocarbons will remain a major part of the world’s energy system for many years, not least because they provide the path to prosperity for many millions of people in the developing world, enabling them to enjoy living standards the western world takes for granted.”