Similarities to Greenland could provide advantage

Daniel MacEachern
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Jeff Howard, president of Tailwinds Consulting, speaks Thursday at the Rotary Club of St. John's weekly luncheon at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland. Howard has been doing a lot of work in Greenland and informed Rotarians of the many business opportunities available to people from this province with expertise in several high tech industries.

Greenland’s burgeoning potential in its oil and gas industry has companies worldwide looking to get in on the action — and a local consultant says the country’s similarities to Newfoundland could give local firms an advantage.

“They’re where we were, back in the ’60s,” Jeff Howard of Tailwinds Consulting told the Rotary Club of St. John’s on Thursday. “And they’ve got nowhere to go but up.”

He added that the 2007-08 U.S. Geological Survey estimate of the country’s offshore potential predicted a reserve 10 times the size of Newfoundland’s own — about 31 billion barrels of oil.

He cautioned, however, that it hasn’t been found yet.

“These are really early days in Greenland,” he said. “This is opportunity. There’s been no discoveries yet; Greenland is looking at how does it support the exploration phase. The world is looking at how it supports the exploration phase. Over the long term, I fully believe there will be great opportunities, but it’s very early days yet.”

Howard said there are parallels to the construction of Newfoundland’s oil and gas industry that give the pro-vince a kinship with Greenlanders.

“In some research I did — I was doing some work in Greenland — I spent a lot of time learning about what happened here in the ’60s and ’70s.

And part of that learning was there was no infrastructure, no anything. … Ships were off the coast of Newfoundland, crewed by international people. When you look at what’s happening in Greenland, it’s the same thing,” Howard said.

“If it wasn’t for the government of Newfoundland at the time insisting that certain positions on these vessels were crewed by Newfoundlanders — when they got on those boats, they got more involved, and the same thing’s going to happen in Greenland.”

It’s not just an industry infrastructure that would need to be built largely from scratch, but a people with strong nationalist sentiment — and even a new, outspoken Danny Williams-like leader in Kuupik Kleist.

“You look at the parallels in terms of the movement away from Denmark, the nationalism that we have in Newfoundland — it’s a ‘we’re Newfoundlanders first, Canadians second’ kind of thing.

“They’re Greenlanders first, not Danish. It’s just when you’re there, you get a sense of the similarities.”

Those similarities could give Newfoundland and Labrador firms a competitive advantage.

“We see the opportunities up there for our industry to sup-

port the exploration phase in Greenland. We know how to operate in the North Atlantic, in the harsh environment. We’re good at it,” he said.

“We have such good kindred spirits with the Greenlandic people. They want to work with us because we’re not telling them what to do; we want to work with them. So I see nothing but opportunities from that perspective.”

Twitter: TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Rotary Club

Geographic location: Greenland, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Rhonda
    March 11, 2011 - 11:26

    Very interesting...but I would NOT want to work in Greenland due to the fact that if you decide to work there then you better be prepare to have approx 30 to 40% of your wages deducted for greenland taxes that is NOT refundable. You will paid both Canadian and Greenland income taxes that you CANNOT claim on your canadian income tax, this does not include any additional bonus you might get from your company, the greenland government will also charge taxes on these bonus also. I learn this lesson the hard way, so please do your research concerning Canadian Income taxes and International income taxes from greenland... so call the int'l office in ottawa to get all the details concerning this matter....also, all documents concerning taxes from greenland was done in their language and currency, so it was impossible to read and translate the information from the T4's...I lost approx anywhere between 15,000 to 25,000 dollars over a one year period in greenland taxes....