BP calls for cautious move into arctic

June 28, 2012 at 8:08 AM

TRONDHEIM, Norway, June 28 (UPI) -- Oil companies need to address local, national and global concerns before moving ahead with offshore arctic development, a BP official said in Norway.

Warmer average global temperatures are melting arctic sea ice and glaciers, exposing vast areas that could hold oil and natural gas reserves.

Mike Daly, executive vice president of exploration for BP, told an arctic energy summit that transparency is paramount for energy companies examining arctic reserves.

"For the exploration and production industry to address local, national and global concerns around arctic offshore development, it will need to listen carefully to the needs of a number of distinct stakeholders and respond to them," he said in a statement.

Environmental groups and some aboriginal communities have expressed concern about the potential impact of offshore safety, a concern heightened following the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Daly said there is a notable dilemma, however, as environmental voices grow louder while energy demand increases.

"This will require a level of openness and transparency that our industry has not achieved so far," he said. "It will challenge beliefs around information and transparency to the very core of our companies."

BP has worked in parts of Alaska since the 1950s and is the largest acreage holder in the Canadian waters of the Beaufort Sea.

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