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Energy-giant boss writes off Arctic oil

Oil company Total’s head has written off resource extraction in the Arctic as too risky to be worthwhile, according to the Financial Times.

In an interview with the paper Christophe de Margerie, chairman and chief executive officer of Paris-based Total, said that gas exploration in the region was sensible but the risks of oil leaks meant oil drilling should be avoided.

“Oil on Greenland would be a disaster,” he told the paper. “A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company.”

By contrast, gas leaks were easier to shut down and clean, says de Margerie, whose company has such projects in the Arctic.

Earlier this month, Shell was forced to abandon its exploratory drilling in the Arctic after a spill-cleanup barge was damaged. Shell and other companies have drawn the ire of conservation groups by moving into the increasingly ice-free region. Critics say that any spill could be devastating to the sensitive region, and winter ice growth could mean clean up would be stopped for months at a time (see ‘Oil exploration ramps up in US Arctic’).


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