However, the areas are still open for applications for non-exclusive prospecting licenses and applications for prospecting license activities will be approved after the standard rules.
The closing of the area follows the oil and gas exploration strategy for Greenland approved by the Greenlandic and the Danish governments in 2003. The strategy also included the 2004 License Round offshore West Greenland between approximately 63 degrees N and approximately 68 degrees N, which will result in a new exclusive license, that will be awarded in January 2005.
New geophysical data, including gravity data and seismic surveys, showing deep basins and some major structures in the region not far from hydrocarbon seeps of the Disko-Nuussuaq area, add significant new knowledge about the hydrocarbon potential.
The Government of Greenland has in accordance with the strategy implemented an overall plan of action, with the purpose before 2006 terminates to decide the future license policy for the Disko-Nuussuaq area. The license policy will also include selected areas of the recent license rounds further south.
The period will be used for a geological evaluation of the prospectivity and an evaluation of terms and conditions in order to decide possible changes in the status of the area (sub areas designated for a) future licensing rounds, b) an open-door policy and c) special procedures).
Acquisition of seismic data is planned for the summer 2005. Thus, it is expected, that 1500 km to 2000 km seismic data offshore Disko-Nuussuaq will be acquired. These data will be processed in early 2006 and will, after interpretation and evaluation, be included in an overall up-to-date evaluation of the exploration possibilities, which will be presented to the oil industry in the summer 2006.
Furthermore, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the area will be performed in advance of re-opening the area. The EIA will focus on possible consequences of hydrocarbon activities for the environment. Such assessments is international standard today and are performed before opening of environmentally sensitive areas for hydrocarbon exploration, such as in the Barents Sea and Lofoten in Norway.
Jørgen Wæver Johansen, Minister for Minerals and Petroleum, states:
The inclusion of the Disko-Nuussuaq area in the future license policy marks a very exciting development of the hydrocarbon exploration offshore West Greenland. Thus, it is naturally, that the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum and GEUS jointly perform a number of projects with the purpose to analyze and substantiate the results so far, and not least to analyze the recently collected samples of the oil seeps from the Disko-Nuussuaq area. Furthermore, it is an important step, that we now are able to provide a more detailed documentation with further seismic acquisition in the summer 2005, of the previously discovered deep basins and major structures in the region.
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