The Arctic is rapidly changing. Snow and ice cover are decreasing and opening up the Arctic for (increased) economic activities such as fisheries, tourism, shipping and the extractive industries. It has been estimated that the Arctic region comprises approximately 22% of the World’s undiscovered hydrocarbon resources. The past years have also shown us that oil and gas activities in the Arctic attract a lot of attention and spur discussions among both local and international stakeholders. The concept of a Social License to Operate emerged based on a growing amount of social unrest related to activities in the extractive industries.
The rise of the Social License to Operate concept fits within trends of globalisation, political modernisation, multi-level governance and spheres of authority. To understand the governance of Arctic oil and gas development and its Social License to Operate we combine the concept of spheres of authority from post international theory with a multi-level governance framework. This PhD research investigates the Social License to Operate of oil and gas development in Greenland.