Scots oil company accused of secrecy over Arctic drilling

EDINBURGH OIL firm Cairn Energy has been accused of secrecy surrounding its safety precautions during pioneering deep sea oil drilling in the Arctic.

In a BBC radio documentary, broadcast today it is reported both the company and the government of Greenland, in whose waters the drilling is taking place, are refusing to publish plans to deal with any spills. It comes amid fears that an incident akin to the Gulf of Mexico disaster earlier this year could happen there.

Cairn Energy started Arctic drilling in an area the size of the North Sea this summer. In August it reported it had found oil and gas bearing sands. Although it has now finished its drilling for the year, it plans to return next year. Dr Martin Preston, marine pollution expert at the University of Liverpool, told The Investigation plans in the public domain give little detail about how Cairn would deal with a spill.

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He said: "I think the worst case scenario is an uncontrolled release of oil right at the end of drilling season."

He added: "I'm not sure they've really taken on board some of the risks that are associated with this high latitude work. And that worries me."

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