Total boss admits Arctic oil drilling could be too risky

Exploring for oil in the Arctic is too much of a risk to the environment, the head of French oil and gas firm Total has admitted. Chief Executive Christophe de […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Exploring for oil in the Arctic is too much of a risk to the environment, the head of French oil and gas firm Total has admitted.

Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie is reported to have said the risk of a huge spill in Arctic waters would bring too much public criticism upon an energy firm.

He told the Financial Times yesterday: “Oil on Greenland would be a disaster. A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company.”

The comments come a week after MPs on the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee called for an end to oil drilling in the Arctic until stronger safety measures are put in place, with chair MP Joan Walley warning against a “goldrush” .

This month Russian state gas firm Gazprom delayed efforts to drill in Russia’s Arctic seas because of safety concerns, while Anglo-Dutch oil firm Shell postponed full drilling on the coast of Alaska until next Spring when a piece of equipment was damaged by ice floes. A host of other firms has been lining up to get in on the Arctic’s oil reserves.