Premier Tom Marshall of Newfoundland and Labrador says his province is uniquely equipped to lead exploration of oil in the Arctic.
Marshall says the province has a proven track record of safe offshore oil development in some of the harshest conditions on Earth.
He says he understands that there are environmental concerns and that safety must always come first.
But he told an oil and gas conference in St. John's Wednesday that the province will continue to invest in new technology and skills to grapple with Arctic challenges.
Environmental activists and aboriginal groups have raised alarms about the potential for a disaster in pristine Arctic waters.
Greenpeace Canada says risks and costs outweigh the value of tapping relatively small reserves.
They say governments should instead spend public funds on renewable energy resources in place of fossil fuels.