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Greenland plans to auction onshore oil and gas blocks in 2021 with two Chinese state majors already expressing interest in bidding, Reuters reports, citing government officials from the island, which is self-governing but under the Danish crown.
CNPC and CNOOC are the companies that will likely make offers for exploration in western Greenland, in the area of the Disko Island and the Nuussuaq Peninsula as Greenland seeks to increase its oil and gas revenues by opening up its onshore resources besides its offshore ones.
The island’s deputy energy minister, Jorn Skov Nielsen, told Reuters “They have not been active in Greenland earlier. It’s a new approach. We are moving the short-term strategy of licensing onshore.”
According to a 2008 estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey, Greenland—the world’s largest island—could contain as much as 17.53 billion barrels of crude as well as 148.21 trillion cu ft of natural gas. Including natural gas liquid resources, the total hydrocarbon estimate for the island was almost 52 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Yet China is not really the favorite candidate of Copenhagen: Reuters recalls recent concern expressed by both the Danish and the U.S. governments over a proposal by Chinese companies to take part in financing and building airports in Greenland. Ultimately, Greenland quenched the concern by picking Denmark to help it to upgrade two local airports.
Still, the autonomous government is naturally interested in pursuing business links with Chinese companies, which have the financial resources and the demand to potentially ensure a long-term market for Greenland oil and gas. According to Nielsen, Greenland’s government will set up an office in Beijing within the next 12 months to that end.
The island itself, however, has a lot greener plans for its own energy needs: it currently sources 70 percent of its energy from hydropower and will aim to raise this to 100 percent by 2030.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.