Cairn Energy is drilling two wells off the west coast of Greenland and plans to drill two more before the end of October. The region is home to blue whales, polar bears, seals and migratory birds.
"To be here and see a huge drilling rig in this beautiful and fragile environment is deeply shocking," said activist Leila Deen, who is onboard the Esperanza,
As the naval action was going on scores of protesters converged on the headquarters of Cairn Energy and several other business during a
Greenpeace in stand-off with warship at Arctic oil drill site
- The drilling season is short, and is ended by the arrival of the Arctic winter and a thickening of sea ice which makes drilling of primary or relief wells impossible.
- A blowout in a scenario where a relief well cannot be completed in the same drilling season could lead to oil gushing until at least next spring (3), with spilt oil becoming trapped under sheets of thick ice.
- The environmental consequences of a spill in the Arctic environment would be far more serious than in warmer seas such as the Gulf of Mexico.(4) Serious impacts of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska are still being felt over 20 years later.(5)
- Baffin Bay [where the rig is drilling] is home to 80 to 90% of the world's Narwhals. The region is also home to blue whales, polar bears, seals, sharks, cormorants, kittiwakes and numerous other migratory birds.(6)