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Arctic Presents Major Opportunity for Oil Companies – and Challenges

A trip to Greenland* in August brought home to me the enormous opportunity and challenges faced by oil explorers in the Arctic.

Oil has long been produced in the region.  The first onshore wells were drilled in Canada in the Mackenzie River valley in 1920 and since then over 400 oil and gas fields have been discovered in the Arctic.

But the high costs and risks associated with operations has meant that development of Arctic fields has been slow.  The only big offshore Arctic field that is in production is Statoil’s Snohvit gas field in the Norwegian Barents Sea, which had first gas 2007.

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