AN Edinburgh-based oil explorer has found oil for the first time off the coast of Greenland.
Cairn Energy, led by former Scottish rugby international and founder Sir Bill Gammell, said it had discovered gas and two types of oil in drilling operations in the untapped Baffin Bay basin, although further analysis is needed.
Sir Bill said: “The presence of both oil and gas confirms an active, working petroleum system in the basin and is extremely encouraging at this very early stage of our exploration campaign.”
Cairn is the only firm so far to have been granted permission to drill for oil offshore in Greenland.
Its discovery is expected to spark a rush of interest from the oil industry in the Arctic waters, although environmental group Greenpeace has already raised concerns over drilling in the region following BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster.
Cairn has around 200 people working on its operations in Greenland.
It has been drilling in the area 110 miles off Disko Island in west Greenland since July.
The group has to deal with icebergs in the region and has previously said that its crew encountered an average of two or three icebergs a day coming within a 15.5-mile radius of the drilling units.
But it has come under fire from campaigners and has had to fend off Greenpeace activists who scaled a Cairn rig in the region earlier this month in protest at the drilling operations.
Greenpeace warns that tough conditions and icebergs pose a risk and could lead to an oil spill.
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