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Arctic oil and gas drilling ready to take off

2 September 2010 No Comment

DRILLING for oil kicked off in Greenland’s Arctic waters last week – just weeks after the Deepwater Horizon leak was finally plugged – angering environmental groups. Cairn Energy, based in Edinburgh, UK, is the first company to explore Greenland’s waters for oil. It won’t be the last.

Interest in the Arctic – which holds 13 per cent of the world’s remaining oil and 30 per cent of its gas – is booming, driven by the rising price of oil and a shortage of other places for multinational companies to drill.


The Deepwater Horizon spill has halted activities in American, Canadian and Norwegian waters, as new regulations are drafted. But exploration and exploitation in Russia and Greenland carry on – and even North American and Norwegian delays will only be temporary.

Drilling in the Arctic Ocean presents greater challenges than elsewhere, whether at sea or on land. Explorers face shifting pack ice, icebergs, storms, frigid temperatures and perpetual night in winter. This has led oil companies to set their sights on the accessible bits of the Arctic (see map). First in line are the relatively sheltered waters close to shore, and shallower regions further out where artificial islands can be built and linked to the coast, transforming the expedition into one that is effectively land-based.  Read more…

Source: NewScientist

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