Energy and Utility Management Consultants

Oil-bearing Sand and Gas Discovered in Greenland

August 2010

 

Cairn Energy, the Edinburgh based oil and gas exploration and production company, has confirmed that gas and oil-bearing sand has been discovered off the coast of Greenland - a discovery which will alarm environmental campaigners with the Arctic expected to become the latest scene of mass extraction of natural resources.

Already attending site is Greenpeace's ship Esperanza, protesting about the permission granted to Cairn Energy to drill for oil in a sensitive environment. The Esperanza has been subjected to a challenge by a Dutch warship - whose captain is enforcing a 500-metre exclusion zone around the two wells in place, but the presence has been noted and reported across the world.

With the Deepwater Horizon oil spill still fresh in the memory, concerns are being raised about the potential of another huge spill - and an oil spill in the as yet 'untouched' Arctic would have repercussions that could prove disastrous. The Deepwater Horizon leak was by no means unique, as unfortunately oil spills do happen.
With hundreds of thousands of active oil wells in the world all working as intended, there have been approximately 500 major oil spills (each with more than a million gallons spilt) in the last 50 years. Certainly any oil spill is terrible news, but on the whole the success rate of clean extraction is better than some would have us believe.

Of course this new find - and subsequent seemingly urgent need to extract, with work already underway - begs the question "what happens when fossil fuels run out?". As yet there is no answer to this question, but clearly the need to find and fund alternative fuel sources must remain a priority for those responsible.

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