Identifying Challenges and Opportunities for Residents in Upernavik as Oil Companies are Making a First Entrance into Baffin Bay

Anne Merrild Hansen and Pelle Tejsner

Abstract

The oil industry is making its first entrance offshore in Baffin Bay in a time where Inuit residents on the northwest coast of Greenland are struggling to uphold a traditional way of living. The operating oil companies are encouraged by the Government of Greenland to promote a high degree of local content in projects to secure benefits to residents in affected areas. However, a prerequisite to a high degree of local content is local interest to engage in these activities. This article presents findings from recent interviews on these topics with residents (Upernavimiut) in the Upernavik district. It is found that securing a high degree of local content in oil projects in the area requires both strategic investments and legislative adjustment and that a general vision for the area from the central administration could serve as a useful point of departure for social impact assessments by the operating companies.

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