EU: Oil and mineral exploration should not set footprints in the snow

Politicians, interest groups and oil companies agreed at yesterday’s conference on oil and gas development in the EU Parliament that the extraction should in no way interfere with the natural environmental balance in the Arctic.
By Pernille Witten Mogensen, greenland today, Bruxelles
07. FEB 2012
European Parliament think-tank »European Arctic Forum« held a conference yesterday called »Prospects for oil – and gas extraction in the Arctic«. At the conference politicians, experts, and natural sciences participated.
Emphasis was on the great opportunities for companies and countries with licenses, and there was a euphoric atmosphere at the promising prospects. At the same time focus was on the business adventures’ impact on the Arctic – nature and local environment.
From the conference on oil and gas development in the EU Parliament.
Subsea protects nature
»As little a footprint as possible«, stressed Bo Diczfalusy, Director of the International Energy Agency, while he showed slides from future oil and gas exploration, which as far as possible will take place from facilities installed underwater and underground.
bdp.100 Director of Sustainable Energy, International Energy Agency, Bo Diczfalusy
The technology opportunities in relation to safety of the surroundings, including in relation to oil spills, are in tremendous growth according to the participants at yesterday’s conference.
Another focus was on economic and social impact on the local areas.
jthh-100 Jørgen T. Hammeken-Holm
Greenland’s bid: Put demands on foreign firms
Jørgen T. Hammeken-Holm from Oil and Gas Department of the Government of Greenland explained how Greenland ensures positive benefits from the foreign companies operating in Greenland.
A part of the requirements to obtain a license is simply that each company must sign a Social Impact Assessment, which describes how the company will make use of local labour, local suppliers, etc.
One example was the Scottish company Cairn. Their Social Impact Assesment contract in 2011 represented a value of 230 mio. Danish Kroner(DKK) for the Greenlandic society.
EU-goliat Goliath installation has been planned from 2011 to 2013
The Norwegian experience
Norway was strongly represented by both Pia Svensgaard, the Mayor from Tromso, and business people from Statoil’s Norwegian branch plus ENI Norway, who operate the Goliat oil field in the Barents Sea.
oivind-a-dahl-stamnes Øivind A. Dahl-Stamnes, Vice President North Area Initiative, Statoil ASA
Vice President Øivind Dahl-Stamnes from Statoil explained that the company is well equipped and has the technology to go ahead with the new operations in the difficult Arctic areas.
– It’s not the melting ice that is the encouragement in the present search for oil and gas, he said.
– But it is the potential, the world demand for fuel as well as the technological opportunities that drives Statoil.
He called for clear political signals from the EU, for greater investment in gas as a fuel of the future, before the company embarks on new future adventures.
arild-glaeserud_100 Arild Glæserud, Director of licence portfolio, ENI, Norway
License Director of ENI Norway, Arild Glæserud, ended his speech with a picture of the company office in Hammerfest in northern Norway. A giant white office facility with glass facades and direct sea view. In the office a large percentage of local employees are working.
– This is how we create growth and jobs in the area, he stated firmly.
An industrial development which is also possible for Greenland.
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