No oil in the Arctic for Cairn, but hazardous chemicals aplenty

Posted by bex — 29 September 2011 at 10:50am - Comments
The Arctic Sunrise and the Esperanza intercept Cairn Energy's controversial Arct
All rights reserved. Credit: © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace
Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise and Esperanza intercepting Cairn Energy's controversial Arctic rig

Yesterday brought the news that yet another Cairn well off Greenland - the sixth so far - has come up dry. The Delta-1 well will be plugged and abandoned and Cairn now has to pin its hopes for this year's drilling season on two remaining wells.

Cairn's share prices tumbled, again; the company is now worth 37 per cent less than it was six months ago. Not only is it losing value fast, Cairn is also spending millions - around US$600m - in its failing quest to find oil off Greenland. 

Unfortunately, money isn't the only thing Cairn is flushing away. 

The company has also pumped more than 225 tons of hazardous chemicals into the ocean around Greenland this year - that's more red-listed chemicals than the entire oil operations of Norway and Denmark combined. 

These chemicals are described by the OSPAR convention as giving "reason for suspicion because of several polluting effects on the environment". 

The environment, in this case, is one of the most pristine, fragile and vulnerable in the world - home to wildlife that includes almost all of the world's Narwhal population as well as blue whales, sea bird colonies and polar bears.

Cairn is risking all of this in its quest to find oil - and profit - in the Arctic. The result so far? A company that's worth far less than it was six months ago, and a natural environment that's less pristine and more polluted than they found it. 

While the British government ignores the crisis at the top of the world - or even supports the companies causing it - Greenpeace is campaigning to protect the Arctic and stop Cairn, and others, from drilling there. You can join us by asking Greenland's Prime Minister, Kuupik Kleist, to protect the Arctic and his country's economy by cancelling Cairn's drilling programme and refusing future licences.

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