Greenland is abandoning its ambition to become an oil-producing country. The search for oil has stopped and licenses will not be granted in the future.
The country has been searching for oil for half a century, but most attempts were fruitless. Oil majors such as Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil have relied on geological reports indicating that there are 31.4 billion barrels of oil in northeastern Greenland.
But the Greenland government believes that the consequences of exploration and extraction on the environment and the climate are very significant.
Between 2002 and 2014, Greenland granted more than 20 exploration licenses, mostly for potential offshore oil fields. Currently, four exploration licenses are still in force, three for the mainland and one for offshore waters. The licenses will expire in 2027 and 2028.
In addition to the environment, economic considerations also play a role in the decision-making. It will be difficult to profitably extract oil reserves. The gains will be relatively small and the chance of losses is real.
The search for other raw materials continues. This month, licenses were granted to prospect for gold and copper.