BP loses Arctic drilling race due to Gulf oil disaster – Summary

London – BP confirmed that it would no longer pursue a drilling licence in Greenland, in a move indicating that the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has hit the company’s previous hopes to claim a stake in the race to explore Arctic resources.

“We are not participating in the bid round,” a company spokesman confirmed in London, according to a report published on the Guardian newspaper’s website late on Wednesday.

The company did not give any reasons for its decision not to pursue a licence for the hotly-contested drilling rights.

Greenpeace, the environmental direct action group, called the move “cheap window dressing.”

“If the group was consistent, it would cancel its 57 drilling operations in Alaska and Libya and elsewhere,” Greenpeace energy spokesman Christoph von Lieven said…
(26 August 2010)

Greenland happy to be the new oil frontier

Terry Macalister, the Guardian
The rain was tipping down today on the cluster of multicoloured buildings in the heart of the capital of Greenland but there was no dampening the spirits of Nuuk’s residents following news that hydrocarbons had been found.

“We have always believed there was oil and gas off this island. We been waiting for something like this to happen for decades,” said Kenni Rende, a 44-year-old shop assistant at the town’s only electronics shop. “I hope it will provide income for Greenland so that we can finance our way to becoming a more independent nation,” he added.

The mood of elation was shared at the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, one block away, where Henrik Stendal was preparing for a presentation in a small room packed with maps and rocks.

“It is exciting. This amounts to an appetiser for all oil companies to come here and do more exploration, seismic and data,” said Stendal, who is the head of the bureau’s geology department.

Greenland’s government had been hopeful that Cairn Energy had found signs of hydrocarbons but the ultra-secretive nature of the business – and its extraordinary importance – meant the British oil company had told no one in advance.

Bill Gammell, Cairn’s chief executive, said there were signs of oil and gas bearing sands, but the hole still needed to be drilled to its target depth.

…Stendal said it was highly encouraging given the six wells drilled over the last 40 years had been completely “dry”. A one-in-seven hit rate would mark this area out as exceptional; the North Sea equivalent is around one in 30.

Stendal says Greenland drilling regulations are tougher than those enforced in the North Sea, and far stricter than the lax rules of the Gulf.

He is confident that all is being done to ensure that there can be no recurrence of the Deepwater Horizon blowout in freezing waters where oil would break down much more slowly than in the warm currents off Louisiana.

But this will not reassure Greenpeace, which has taken its ship Esperanza into the region to highlight its concerns.

The environmental group said the move was wrong, not least because Cairn was a relatively small company with no experience of drilling in harsh conditions and had made its name discovering onshore oil in India…
(24 August 2010)

Danes block Greenpeace vessel in Arctic

Alan Jones, The Independent
A Danish warship today confronted a Greenpeace ship which is on a mission to target “dangerous” deep sea oil drilling sites, the environmental group claimed.

The incident happened in the freezing seas off Greenland as the protest ship Esperanza approached one of the world’s most controversial oil drilling projects operated by the British company Cairn Energy, said Greenpeace.

The Greenpeace ship left London 12 days ago vowing to challenge the oil industry at the site of a dangerous deepwater drilling project in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, but did not reveal its intended location until today when the ship arrived in the seas west of Disko Island in the Arctic.

The Danish government sent the Vaedderen, a Thetis-class warship, to protect two drilling sites being operated by Britain’s Cairn Energy, said the environmental group tonight, adding that the Esperanza has been warned that the ship will be raided and the captain arrested if it breaches a security zone set up in the area…
(23 August 2010)