A Dutch court has rejected a lawsuit filed by Royal Dutch Shell PLC against Greenpeace International seeking to ban environmentalists from holding protests against the oil company's Arctic drilling program on or near Shell property.

The Amsterdam District Court said Friday Greenpeace has the right to protest, and Shell should expect public protest about business practices that are controversial.

However, the court also handed Greenpeace a set of protest guidelines intended to ensure its protests are "proportionate," including the requirement the group not occupy gas stations for more than an hour at a time.

Shell has invested around $4.5 billion and spent years obtaining licenses to drill in the Arctic sea off Alaska's coast. Greenpeace says drilling in the icy Arctic waters is risky and poses environmental threats.