A British oil firm will announce that it has struck oil off Greenland, a find that could trigger a rush to exploit oil reserves in the pristine waters of the Arctic.
Cairn Energy, the first company to win permission to drill for oil in this sensitive environment, will break the news to the London stock market along with its half-yearly financial results…
The news will delight the oil industry, which has long believed the Arctic harbours some of the last huge reserves. It will also delight a Greenland government desperate to diversify its fragile economy away from a dependence on fishing, tourism and cash handouts from Denmark, which still formally has sovereignty over the world’s largest island…
The Arctic find will reinforce the reputation of Cairn in the oil industry. The firm has a strong track record of making discoveries in new frontiers. It made a name for itself by buying assets in Rajasthan, India, from Shell, then going on to make huge discoveries. Cairn has recently hived off this business at a big profit through a separate stock market flotation.
Asked whether he expected good news from Cairn, Mininnguaq Kleist, a senior official in Greenland’s department of foreign affairs, said only: “Yes, I hope so.” The department is choosing its words carefully because the exact scale of the oil find must still be assessed. The well has not been drilled to its true depth yet, and appraisal holes have to be made before the size of any reservoir can be assessed.
It is expensive to operate in deep waters and in such inhospitable terrain, and there would have to be a lot of oil in place to justify building platforms and pipelines. But most analysts believe the Arctic holds billions of new barrels – and the find will set their imaginations racing.
I left out the portion of this article dealing with Greenpeace. Though I’ve been an environmental activist for 40 years, they are not anyone I especially regard as either constructive or willing and able to consider the needs of working people.
After decades of being a colonial property, the last thing the people of Greenland need is a clot of middle-class twits descending upon them with religious preaching and rule-making.