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BP frozen out of Arctic oil drilling race

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BP frozen out of Arctic oil drilling raceBP has been forced to abandon hopes of drilling in the Arctic, currently the centre of a new oil rush due to its tarnished reputation following the Gulf of Mexico spill.

The company confirmed tonight that it was no longer trying to win an exploration licence in Greenland, despite earlier reports of its interest. "We are not participating in the bid round," said a spokesman at BP's London headquarters who declined to discuss its reasons for the reverse.

The setback, which follows the announcement this week of a major find in the region by British rival Cairn Energy, is the first sign that the Gulf of Mexico disaster may have permanently damaged BP's ability to operate — not just in US waters, but in other environmentally-sensitive parts of the world.

Today the bureau of minerals and petroleum in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, confirmed that the names of successful bidders for future exploration licences would be announced in the next couple of weeks.

The bureau refused to comment on widespread industry rumours that it had not considered BP specifically as a result of the recent Macondo well disaster in the US.

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