Greenland Opens Disko West Licensing Round

Jørgen Wæver Johansen, Greenland’s Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Minerals and Petroleum, on Tuesday opened a licensing round for areas offshore West Greenland between 67°N and 71°N. The opening meeting took place at Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat, with participants representing international oil companies from Europe and North America.

At the opening meeting, the result of several years investigations of the geology, environment, and ice conditions of the area were presented. The completed investigations showed the area’s potential in regard to oil and gas deposits in the subsurface. The ministry also presented the terms and conditions for applying for exploration and exploitation licenses.

In 2005 Greenland’s Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, in cooperation with Nunaoil A/S and the seismic company TGS Nopec, acquired more than 3,200 kilometers of new seismic data offshore the Disko-Nuussuaq Region. The new data have confirmed and strengthened the presumption that very large oil deposits are present in the area. Analyses of oil seeps onshore Disko-Nuussuaq have also been carried out. The results are very promising and point to the existence of one or more so-called source rocks--the rocks in which oil originates--in the offshore area west of Disko-Nuussuaq.

A number of oil companies have bought the new seismic data, which the ministry sees as in indicator of their serious interest in the area.

The investigations further confirm that there is a good chance that large amounts of oil and gas have been formed and accumulated in the areas offshore West Greenland between 67°N and 71°N. The combination of the many oil data onshore and the many indirect indications of oil and gas seen on the seismic data support the existence of an active petroleum system within this area.

The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum and the National Environmental Research Institute have conducted parallel thorough environmental investigations to ensure that oil activities in the area is carried out in an environmentally secure manner. The investigations include the possible impact on larvae of fish and shrimp and the populations of whales, birds, and walruses in the area. The environmental investigations have been an essential factor in defining the sea area for exploration. The environmentally sensitive inner Disko Bay is therefore not included in the licensing round.

The total licensing area covers approx. 92,000 square kilometers and is divided into eight very large license blocks of about 8,000-14,000 square kilometers. The block division model has been prepared in close dialogue with the oil industry. The closing date for applications for new licenses to explore and exploit oil and gas is Dec.15th 2006. The Greenland Government plans to grant the new licenses in March 2007.

“The result of the many investigations of the oil potential in the Disko-Nuussuaq Region has been very encouraging,” said Johansen. “The many independent indications that there exists an active petroleum system in this very large offshore area, together with not least the large interest of the industry, signals that we move toward new challenges and new times, where exploitation of our mineral resources will be a very important element in the foundation of a sustainable economy in Greenland.”

Further information is available by application to Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Minerals and Petroleum Jørgen Wæver Johansen, phone +299 55 96 72, or Deputy Minister of the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum Jørn Skov Nielsen, phone +299 59 12 06, or at the homepage of the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum

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