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. Greenland Begins Sale Of Oil Concessions

After six test drillings in 1976, 1977 and 1990 failed to prove the potential for profitable exploitation off Greenland, record oil prices are now the key to unlocking the fuel potential of the island, which had previously scared off investors because of the high cost of accessing reserves in waters and land which are icebound for most of the year.
by Staff Writers
Copenhagen (AFP) Jul 19, 2006
Greenland has opened an eagerly awaited round of concession sales for oil and gas exploration for which officials expect record bidding, authorities on the island said on Wednesday. There are hopes that the remote oil fields of Greenland, an ice-covered island off the coast of northeast Canada, could become a new eldorado for oil companies thanks to a spectacular rise in fossil fuel prices and uncertainty concerning future supplies.

The fourth round of concessions is for a zone covering 92,000 square kilometers (35,521 square miles) located between the the 67th and 71st parallels off Disko Bay.

The zone is divided into eight blocks of 8,000 to 14,000 square meters (86,110 to 150,694 square feet) each.

The round opened on Tuesday, attended by numerous oil companies from North America and Europe.

"The result of the many investigations of the oil potential in the Disko-Nuussuaq region has been very encouraging," Joergen Waever Johansen, Greenland's minister of housing, infrastructure, minerals and petroleum, said in a statement.

He said there were "many independent indications that there exists an active petroleum system in this very large offshore area" and hailed the "large interest" from the oil industry.

Joern Skov Nielsen, division head of Greenland's Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, told AFP just prior to the opening of the new round that the island had "never known a level of interest for oil exploration like today, which makes us optimistic.

"Our dream of becoming a heavyweight energy producer could become reality one day."

Companies have until December 15 to submit their proposals, and the winners will be announced in March 2007.

After six test drillings in 1976, 1977 and 1990 failed to prove the potential for profitable exploitation off Greenland, record oil prices are now the key to unlocking the fuel potential of the island, which had previously scared off investors because of the high cost of accessing reserves in waters and land which are icebound for most of the year.

Global warming, which affects Greenland more than any other place, has also made the job of finding oil easier by reducing the thick layers of ice.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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