Terms and Guidelines for Licensing

There are Standard Terms and Guidelines for hydrocarbons and related activities. These guidelines cover standard terms for exclusive exploration licences and non-exclusive prospecting licences for hydrocarbons.

Exploration and exploitation

A licence for hydrocarbons is based on a model licence, depending on the area which has been applied for. A licence for hydrocarbons is given as exclusive rights to explore and exploit hydrocarbons within the given licence area on the given terms. For more information please see here.


A Prospecting licence for hydrocarbons gives a non-exclusive right to carry out activities that could help decide if and in which area exploration for hydrocarbons should be done. Please see the document list below for the Standard Terms for Prospecting and an example prospecting licence.



Offshore activities must be carried out with the terms stipulated in the licence, the approval as well as the Guidelines for applications, execution and reporting of offshore hydrocarbon exploration activities (excluding drilling) in Greenland.

Scope of project

When applying for approval to perform an activity as described in the guideline, the applicant must submit a scope of the project (no later than 1st of December) in terms of environmental mitigation and cumulative effects. Based on the scope of project the Environmental Agency for Mineral Resource Activities (EAMRA) will assess whether the activity applied for will have or is at risk of having significant impacts on the environment either alone or in combination with other planned or ongoing human activities and therefore requires an EIA process for the activity. Please see the documents below.


Onshore petroleum exploration activities must be carried out in accordance with the terms stipulated in the license, the approval as well as the Rules for Field Work and Reporting:
An application for onshore exploration activities (including fieldwork, fieldtrips, etc.) under a prospecting licence or an exploration licence must be submitted not later than 2 months before the planned activity:
Deadline for submission of the field report is one month after the termination of the field activity, cf. the reporting form for onshore field activities below.


Airborne petroleum exploration activities must be carried out in accordance with the terms stipulated in the approval. As the The Ministry of Industry, Energy and Research (MIER) has currently not issued guidelines specific to airborne exploration activities, the “Guidelines for application, execution and reporting of offshore hydrocarbon activities (excluding drilling) in Greenland” guides the application and reporting criteria to the extent applicable. For further guidance and assistance please contact the Ministry.


The Exploration Drilling Guidelines have been developed to assist operators planning to conduct drilling operations within Greenland by providing information and explanation of the requirements contained in the Greenland Minerals Resources Act, and subordinate legislation. The Guidelines provide specific direction where the MIER have been given the authority to prescribe, provide guidance and approve drilling and related activities. The Exploration Drilling Guidelines align and follow how the MIER interprets the legislative requirements governing the offshore area as described in the Minerals Resources Act subordinate legislation and the Guidelines for Submitting Applications for Approval of Offshore Installations for Hydrocarbon Exploration in Greenland together with other accepted guidelines such as the Arctic Council Guidelines.
In approving the exploration drilling activities the MIER will adhere to the NORSOK standards.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

The licensee shall  when appropriate submit an environmental impact assessment (EIA) as part of the application for approval of offshore exploration drilling activities. The guidelines found in the document list below are directed at licensees preparing an EIA for activities related to the exploration, development, production, decommissioning and transport of hydrocarbons offshore Greenland.

Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA)

The licensee shall submit a social impact assessment (SIA) as part of the application for approval of offshore exploration drilling activities. On the basis of the prepared SIA report the licensee must enter into an Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) that defines the cooperation between the licensee, national authorities and local authorities in relation to maximizing development opportunities and mitigating impacts from mining projects.