Greenland suspends oil exploration

Photo: AP

The Greenland government has decided to suspend all oil exploration off the world’s largest island because it "takes the climate crisis seriously,” news wires reported. No oil has been found yet around Greenland, but officials there had seen potentially vast reserves as a way to help the island realise its long-held dream of independence from Denmark. The decision was made on 24 June but made public just now.

Global warming means that retreating ice could uncover potential oil and mineral resources which, if successfully tapped, could dramatically change the fortunes of the semi-autonomous territory of 57,000 people. “The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect we have much more to gain,” the Greenland government said in a statement adding that it “wants to take co-responsibility for combating the global climate crisis.”

The government's decision to stop oil exploration was welcomed by environmental group Greenpeace, which called the decision ”fantastic.” “And my understanding is that the licenses that are left have very limited potential,” Mads Flarup Christensen, Greenpeace Nordic’s general secretary, told weekly Danish tech-magazine Ingenioeren. Denmark decides foreign, defense and security policy, and supports Greenland with the annual grant that accounts for about two-thirds of the Arctic island’s economy.

The US Geological Survey estimates there could be 17.5 billion undiscovered barrels of oil and 148 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off Greenland, although the island's remote location and harsh weather have limited exploration.

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