Oil companies throwing in the towel in Greenland

Statoil, GDF Suez and Dong Energy pull the plug

Greenland's dream of becoming the next oil mecca is fading. Three major energy companies – Statoil (Norway), GDF Suez (France) and Dong Energy (Denmark) – have given up plans to excavate oil in the ocean west of the world's largest island.

Other companies – including Maersk, Cairn Energy (Scotland) and Shell (the Netherlands) – have postponed their plans for two years while they consider their options. Investing in oil excavation in Greenland is too expensive and uncertain, the oil companies contend.

“Never say never, but taking the current market situation into consideration – combined with the little infrastructure and huge environmental demands and challenging climate in Greenland – it will be very expensive to excavate these fields,” Johannes Finborud, the head of GDF Suez in Greenland, told Politiken newspaper.

READ MORE: Denmark and Greenland team up for continental shelf claim

Locals defiant
The Scottish oil company Cairn Energy spent about seven billion kroner on a series of unsuccessful drilling projects from 2010-2011 and has closed down its offices in Nuuk with no plans to reopen.

But despite the cooling interest for oil adventures in Greenland, the locals refuse to give up on their hope that the Arctic nation will one day become an oil producer.

“We are aware that Greenland is frontier country within oil excavation, and yes, the oil won't be shooting up this summer,” said Jørgen T Hammeken-Holm, the acting head of the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum in Greenland.

“But Greenland is enormous, so even though oil can't be found in one place, the geology suggests there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere.”