At the invitation of the Government of Greenland Cairn and other petroleum companies hold exploration permits offshore Greenland.


Wells drilled safely by Cairn offshore Greenland


Cairn has had an interest in
Greenland since 2007


We behave responsibly towards local communities and aim to make a positive social impact in every area in which we work.

The benefits we can bring include energy, infrastructure, employment and trade with local enterprises. We also look to add value through focused social investment.

During 2012, we visited local communities near Pitu to better understand any concerns and hopes for future activities. This study is also helping us to develop social plans which effectively manage the potential impacts and concerns from local communities.

We develop and implement our approach for each area through consultation and in partnership with local authorities, NGOs and other organisations. 

Our approach in Greenland

Greenland is a large island (nine times the size of the UK) with a small population (one-thousandth of the UK’s) and an economy that is dependent on fishing, tourism and grants from Denmark.

Most Greenlanders want more economic development and independence, and the exploitation of their natural resources is seen as a key opportunity to realise this.

To identify social issues (including human rights issues PDF 0.06MB) that may result from our activities, we carry out a Social Impact Assessments (SIA). These assessments together with stakeholder engagement allowed us to develop robust measures to mitigate potential negative social impacts and enhance positive ones. These measures were set out in a Benefit and Impact Plan within the SIAs. 

Following on from this, we entered into an Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) for the 2010 and 2011 drilling programme with the Mineral Licence and Safety Authority (MLSA), formerly the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum (BMP) and the municipalities in the project area. Through these agreements:

  • We have committed to providing $750,000 over two years to support skills development in Greenland and Greenlanders’ future participation in oil and gas activities 
  • We have committed to providing US$75,000 in 2011 to support local community development initiatives
  • We have hosted two local supplier’s seminars to encourage greater local participation in potential future projects
  • We have provided meteorological monitoring equipment, to two airports affected by our work. This facilitated 24-hour operating for our search and rescue capability but also contributed to a longer-term capability that will benefit the airports
  • We have contributed to the training of national emergency response teams and, at a local level, providing training on how to deal with shoreline oil spills and deploy oil spill clean-up equipment, we have helped to enhance Greenland’s emergency response capabilities. Greenland is a maritime nation and fuel spills from marine vessels can occur, so this capability has a broader relevance over and above Cairn’s operations
  • We have spent $5.1 million on oil spill contingency equipment for deployment in Greenland which has now become a resource for Greenland
  • As part of our licence agreements, we have committed $4.5 million towards environmental research in Greenland. In addition, we have supported studies into noise levels around our drilling rigs. The results will inform research by the Danish Centre for Environment and Energy (DCE - formally the Danish National Environment Research Institute - NERI) into the potential effects of noise generated by our seismic and drilling activities on the behaviour of fish and marine mammals