Before the oil drilling commences, the oil companies Cairn Energy, Maersk Oil, Shell and ConocoPhillips are looking into the possible effects that the drilling might have on the local community.
The investigations into the effects on the local community are carried out in cooperation with NunaOil (among others).
- We expect to complete our investigations this summer, Cairn Energy says.
Maersk Oil, Shell, Cairn Energy and ConocoPhillips are licensed to carry out test drillings in Baffin Bay.
Together we are strong.
It may be a worn-out cliché, but it is what is needed if Greenland is to stand up to the strong multinational companies, chairman of the environmental and nature association Avataq, Mikkel Myrup, considers.
- Even though Greenpeace is controversial, it is important for Avataq to meet with people whose situation is similar to ours, Mikkel Myrup (41) states. On Sunday 5 May, he signed the joint statement of indigenous solidarity for Arctic protection.
One of the more controversial cases to be found on the agenda when the Swedish chairmanship of the Arctic Council hosts the meeting of ministers on 15 May in Kiruna is the approval of new observers in addition to the current six. So far, the USA, Canada and Russia have protested, and it will not be known until the meeting if more countries will be included.
The oil price is high and the best oil fields are most likely well past their prime. Further, the consumption of the brownish-black organic fluid is expected to increase dramatically in the years to come as a result of the growing middle classes in India and China.
Next year, Maersk Oil is expected to decide if it is environmentally and financially viable to drill for oil in the Baffin Bay off Upernavik in North-West Greenland. According to Maersk's agreement with the Greenlandic authorities, the drillings would be carried out during a three-year period from 2014-17 in one license block.
According to the Danish newspaper Berlingske, the cost of just one operation including a drilling rig in one block in the ice-filled and challenging waters of the Baffin Bay is around one billion Danish kroner.
The Treasury of Greenland, Landskassen, benefited from the Scottish oil company in 2010 and 2011. Cairn has been willing to take on substantial risks in terms of research and extraction licences and not least research drillings. Cairn has carried out eight dry drillings at a total cost of six billion Danish kroner. The stock market has punished the company for what is considered by some stock analysts to be Cairn's Arctic failure. However, the company continues to invest in their research in Greenland.
The pressure on the world's resources is increasing.
On 1 May, the Research Centre for Minerals and Raw Materials in Copenhagen was opened.
The purpose of the research centre, also referred to as Mima, is to analyse if companies and other elements of society in the Danish Realm may experience a shortage of mineral raw materials in the future.
The new research centre will be established by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS.
A substantial number of young people in the age group 19 to 29 years are unemployed, many as a result of poor secondary school exam results. Now, the government of Greenland, the Naalakkersuisut, wants to prepare a plan for further education or employment of young people.
According to Naalakkersuisut chairman Aleqa Hammond, the government wants fast and visible results. This statement was made at a press conference on 2 May, at which she presented a plan for the next 100 days.
The arctic char swims about happily in the Kirkespir River in the Nalunaq area. In the Kirkespir Bay, seaweed, bull-rout and mussels are thriving. Not far away, drilling staff of the Nalunaq mine is using cyanide to extract gold from the ore.
The financial situation of the gold mine in Nalunaq in South Greenland is critical. In fact the company has been placed under administration. According to the Danish daily newspaper Politiken, the conclusion is stated clearly in a letter from the administrators to the creditors:
The gold company as well as an affiliated company carrying our zinc research further north have exhausted their funds.