Several of the world's largest oil companies hope to tap into possible offshore oil and gas reserves as Greenland opened a new round of concessions for exploration licenses in the fragile Arctic region. Eyes of an oil-thirsty world have turned to the shores of the semiautonomous Danish territory amid rising fuel prices, Mideast instability and concerns over future supplies. The Greenland government hopes to make big gains from any reserves found in its icy waters, but environmentalists say oil exploration
there could damage a sensitive region already under threat by global warming. The names of companies attending the meeting and what conditions the Greenland government would put forth for exploration in the Disko Bay- the area being opened for the current round of concessions- remained undisclosed.
Oil exploration off west Greenland started in the 1970s but stopped after five failed drilling attempts. Activities resumed in 2001 off Nuuk, the Greenland capital
. Canadian company EnCana (ECA)
last year became the first company to win a license for offshore oil and gas exploration off Nuuk.In 2008, Calgary, Alberta-based EnCana is expected to start drilling in areas believed to have reserves ranging from 400 million to 1.2 billion barrels of oil. (Source: Houston Chronicle)