Iceland to begin Atlantic oil exploration

The Icelandic government intends to open the Dreki region in the Atlantic Ocean for oil and gas exploration in January 2009.

New gas or oil sites would have a significant effect on the largely fossil fuel-free Icelandic economy. Iceland currently uses geothermal and hydroelectric energy for 99 per cent of its energy production.

Minister of Industry, Ossur Skarphedinsson, said: “There is no assurance that producible quantities of oil and gas will be found in the Dreki area, but it is clear that considerable oil and gas discoveries could have vigorous impact on Iceland’s economy.”

Geophysical and seismic research has predicted that the Jan Mayen Ridge, between Jan Mayen island and Iceland, will reveal significant oil and gas reserves. Hydrocarbons have already been discovered close to the region and in other similar areas.

The current investigation of sea and climate conditions in the Dreki area will also help the government assess the effect of drilling for oil on the marine biosphere.