Photo: christine zenino (chrissy575) Flickr, CC BY
Now that the whole BP spill debacle is over and done with -- since the oil's all gone and every Gulf resident is again healthy, happy, and properly reimbursed -- let's get back to the business of drilling for oil around the world. Next up, Greenland. Oil companies are lining up to drill off the coast of the icy nation, which has come up with an interesting stipulation: If you want to drill in Greenland's waters, you'll have to come up with $2 billion to put in an emergency fund. You know, on the off chance that something goes wrong ...Here's Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard:
Energy companies are lining up to start exploring in new areas opened up off Greenland's coast for oil. But in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf this year, Greenland decided to take a new approach: demanding that the companies fork over $2 billion first to ensure that there are adequate funds in place should one of those companies screw up.As Sheppard notes, $2 billion really isn't enough to cover the cost of a spill, should one occur. The BP spill has cost that company $40 billion so far -- and cleaning up oil is much trickier and more expensive in the Arctic.
Shell, Cairn Energy, Statoil, Dong and Maersk Oil are among the companies gunning to drill off the country's western coast in a previously untapped 50,000 square kilometer area.
But at least the upfront cost could perhaps make oil companies take safety precautions a tad more seriously than BP did. But it's nonetheless a smart move on Greenland's part -- requiring that oil companies provide at least a chunk of the change necessary to cover the costs of an accidents.
Of course, it's also yet another reminder of how dangerous drilling for oil has become, how unbothered the public is with the whole business -- and how unsurprised we all are that oil companies would be willing to front $2 billion just for the chance to explore for oil.