Greenland caves in to drilling, shrugging off oil spill dangers

Greenland has decided to open up one of the most fragile Arctic environments to oil drilling, brushing aside environmental concerns. BP, the company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has won permission to drill in eastern Greenland. The Anglo-American energy giant, held responsible for turning the Gulf of Mexico into an ecological catastrophe in 2010, has been given exploration rights in eastern Greenland -- an area of 2,630 square kilometers and the world's biggest island. "Northeast Greenland is a long-term play, and we expect several years of careful planning before exploring this challenging and interesting region," BP said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the BMP [Greenland's Bureau of Mines and Petroleum] and partners to develop a 2D seismic work programme." The Greenland government's decision is a complete U-turn from what it said only nine months ago, when a moratorium on any further drilling was imposed due to environmental concerns. "The latest move is understood to be tightly connected to Greenland's striving for independence from Denmark," RT's Aleksey Yaroshevsky said. Although Greenland is still a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it has enjoyed autonomy since 1979; in 1985 the island became the only territory to leave the EU. Gaining full independence has long been a challenge for the 57,000 people of Greenland, who mostly rely on fishing and tourism to make a living. Oil is seen by many as a long-awaited chance to become richer and more independent. Along with the US's Alaska, Russia, Canada and Norway, Greenland has promising Arctic reserves, with an estimated 25 percent of the world's remaining oil and gas reserves lying under and around the Arctic Ocean. http:/

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