Cairn Energy has found gas offshore Greenland amid environmental protests by Greenpeace to stop its exploration activities.

Cairn said it encountered gas in thin sands at its first well, T8-1, in the Baffin Bay basin where there are early indications of a working hydrocarbon system.

Cairn Energy chief executive Bill Gammell said the gas find does not have commercial potential but it is associated with oil or condensate.

The company has two rigs drilling wells offshore Greenland and plans to drill four wells before the end of the drilling season in September.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace said its activists are in the Arctic to pressure Cairn to stop its oil operations in offshore Greenland, which is home to wildlife such as blue whales, polar bears, seals and migratory birds.