Scotland business

Cairn Energy sets out Greenland drilling plan

Edinburgh-based oil explorer Cairn Energy has given details of its drilling plan in the Arctic.

Cairn plans to drill four wells, although the Greenland government has approved seven exploration sites, which the company said gave it "flexibility".

The drilling campaign will cost the company about £400m, which is in line with previous expectations.

Environmental group Greenpeace described the plans as "reckless" and is following one of the group's rigs.

Greenland is an autonomous country within the kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

Under the supervision of a Danish military ship, the Cairn rig is being moved into place in Greenland waters to begin drilling later this year.

Greenpeace tried to disrupt Cairn's drilling plans last year.

It said it had obtained documents from the UK government which highlighted the difficulties of cleaning up an oil spill in the Arctic.

It quotes one document, which said: "The Arctic ecosystem is particularly vulnerable, and emergency responses would be slower and harder than in the Gulf of Mexico due to the area's remoteness and the difficulty of operating in sub-zero temperatures."

Cairn has insisted its first priority would be safety.

The group drilled three exploration wells in 2010 in the Arctic which experts predict could become the next major oil producing region, with reserves of about 20 billion barrels of oil.

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