From Iceland — Some Ministers Concerned About Oil Rush

Some Ministers Concerned About Oil Rush

Published December 7, 2012

Two government ministers have expressed caution and strong environmental concerns about a possible drilling for oil in Icelandic waters.

As reported, the Dragon Area, located in the northeast corner of Iceland’s territorial waters, is suspected to be rich in oil and natural gas. Preliminary geological tests also give strong indications that this is the case. Several countries – among them, Russia, the UK and Norway – have all expressed an interest in exploration and possibly drilling in the area, and licences have already been awarded.

However, Vísir reports that two Icelandic government ministers have expressed serious reservations about the venture.

Minister of Industries and Innovation Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told reporters that the time was not right to rush into oil exploration; that Iceland should take its time to fully explore the facts of the situation and the concerns of experts in the field.

Steingrímur referenced concerns raised by Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir that exploratory drilling could have a serious and irreversible environmental impact on Icelandic waters. She added furthermore that no municipality in Iceland was ready to support an oil refinery, which themselves can be damaging to the environment.

Steingrímur closed his statements by saying that before any kind of drilling begins, certainties must be made that no chances will be taken for damage to the environment and fish stocks, or that industrial accidents could occur.

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