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Project Review: Cairn Energy’s 2011 Offshore Drilling in West Greenland

In the spring of 2012, Inuit Circumpolar Council - Greenland (ICC-Greenland) and Oceans North Canada commissioned an independent third-party technical review of Cairn Energy PLC’s (Cairn) 2011 offshore oil exploration drilling programme in Western Greenland.

The review was intended not only to highlight areas that require improvement, but also to highlight strengths and best practices in relation to common regulatory and industry standards in other Arctic countries.

The review resulted in a final report "Project Review: Cairn Energy’s 2011 Offshore Drilling in West Greenland", which is now available to the public.

 

 

Report: Offshore Drilling in West Greenland, Relief Well Planning

The report shows that Greenland's two drilling rigs, same season relief well requirements are consistent with standards in the United States and Canada.

The report also shows that oil companies have also argued to do away with the two drilling rigs, same season relief well requirements in Canada and the US. So far, this argument has failed: authorities have rejected any attempts to weaken this requirement.

Despite claims by some industry representatives, there is no technology in existence that can replace a second rig in the event of an out-of-control well.

Without the two drilling rigs, same season relief well requirement, an out of control well could spill oil throughout an entire winter and spring, causing unacceptable damage to the marine environment, including fishing stocks and marine mammals.