No oil found at Cairn’s Greenland well

British oil and gas explorer Cairn Energy has announced that it failed to find oil at one of its controversial wells off the coast of Greenland.

The Edinburgh-based firm, whose activities in the Arctic have received widespread condemnation and protests from environmental groups, is still confident that its endeavours will be successful.

“We are encouraged by further indications of pre-Tertiary oil-prone source rocks across our Greenland acreage,” Cairn’s chief executive Simon Thomson said in a statement. “We continue to be optimistic about the remainder of our 2011 four-well, multi-basin exploration programme offshore Greenland,” he added.

The firm, which is spending USD 600 million (EUR 419 million) this year after cutting its stake in its Indian arm, said it has begun drilling at a new well on the Napariaq block, 110 km from where it found oil and gas last year. Experts believe there could be billions of barrels of natural resources in the Arctic region, which is becoming more accessible for drilling due to the melting sea ice.

Cairn’s efforts have, however, been repeatedly disputed by Greenpeace protesters, who, until being banned by a court order, boarded rigs on several occasions, forcing drilling to halt. Due to the harsh Arctic winters, engineers only have a small window in summer in which activities can take place.

Shares in the company have dropped 3.5 percent since the announcement was made on Wednesday.