Pikialasorsuaq | WWF
© Cameron Dueck / WWF


Oil Spills and the Big Polynya

Pikialasorsuaq lies near the heart of the “Last Ice Area”.  As climate change in the Arctic shrinks summer sea ice, the Last Ice Area represents the last best hope for a home for animals that live on and around the sea ice.

 At the same time, this area is attracting the attention of international companies that want to explore for oil and minerals. Next to Pikialasorsuaq, in Melville Bay off the coast of Western Greenland, there are areas that have been licensed for offshore oil & gas exploration. Although no company is exploring there right now, the licenses show that development here is possible.

Oil spill scenarios

This is a "worst case" scenario, showing how much oil could spread over the surface of the water in the event of a spill. The two colours show different things. The black shows oil floating on the water, and the red shows where that oil might land on the coast.

For the same spill, this map shows the amounts of oil that are on the water. Reds and oranges indicate a lot of oil, blue is a small amount of oil.