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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) is a British Overseas Territory in the south Atlantic Ocean. South Georgia is the largest island populated by employees of the British Antarctic Survey.
Sighting of islands in the South Atlantic was reported in 1675 but Captain Cook made the first landing in 1775, claiming them for the UK. Administration of South Georgia began in 1843 and sovereignty was claimed over the 11 South Sandwich Islands in 1908. The islands were then governed as part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies.
South Georgia was used as a sealers’ and whalers’ base under leases granted by the Governor of the Falklands until whaling ended in the 1960s. A research facility was created at the whaling base at King Edward Point in 1949.
Argentina claimed South Georgia in 1927 and the South Sandwich Islands in 1938 and maintained a naval station on Thule Island from 1976 until 1982. It briefly occupied South Georgia during the Falklands War in 1982. The current Overseas Territory was then formed in 1985.
As there are no native inhabitants, economic activity is limited to fishing licences, stamps and coins, along with small amounts of tourism and customs dues.
South Georgia and most of the South Sandwich Islands are rugged and mountainous, with peaks permanently covered with ice and snow. Eleven peaks in South Georgia rise to over 2000 m with glaciated slopes.
South Georgia consists of metamorphic rocks with volcanics and a thin sedimentary cover. The South Sandwich Islands are all volcanic. Together the islands comprise remnants of an old continent and island arc.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands have no onshore oil and gas potential although offshore sedimentary basins could exist. Nevertheless the territory has no identified indigenous oil or gas resources.
Globalshift believes it is unlikely to achieve any production in the future due to the remote location, harsh climate and sensitive environment.
Map and National Flag
Waves on rocks
Land area (sq kms)
Oil prod (000s b/d)
Gas prod (bcm/yr)
Oil cons (000s b/d)
Gas cons (bcm/yr)
King Edward Point
Executive power is vested in UK monarch exercised by a Commissioner who is Governor of the Falkland Islands.
As there are no permanent inhabitants there is no legislative council and no elections are held.
An Executive Officer deals with administrative matters but there is no one specifically responsible for oil and gas resources.
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