According to a story in Reuters, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will assert U.S. interest in the Arctic, where the prospects for abundant oil, gas and new trade routes has been likened to a modern-day gold rush, when she visits the region on Saturday.” (1 June 12)
Interest is high with nations worldwide vying for access to the Arctic. “Norway has moved its military operational headquarters into the Arctic Circle, China has development plans for Iceland and countries, including Russia, are laying claim to exploration rights in the once pristine Barents Sea.”
Map courtesy of WorldAtlas.com
It is all about energy. While our politicians dilly-dally about the oil in ANWR, and fuss over any attempt to develop the resources in the Arctic area, the World’s nations are not waiting our approval.
More comments from the Reuters article: “Even Russia, the largest provider of oil and gas to Europe is keen to accelerate gas production from its offshore gas fields as soon as possible, or as soon as economically viable.”
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Arctic holds about 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas resources.
“All the major powers are positioning themselves for this development,” said Ole Arve Misund, director of the University Centre in Svalbard. “The resource has become more available and prospects have already been opened in Norway, Russia, Canada, the U.S. and Greenland.”
ExxonMobil is working with Rosneft to develop blocks in the Kara Sea, off Siberia, despite sea ice for up to 300 days a year.
Gazprom is also working with Total and Norway’s Statoil on the 4-trillion-cubic-metre Shtokman gas field 550 km offshore. Statoil has also established a strong Arctic record with its Skrugard and Havis finds, holding up to 600 million barrels of oil.
Ole Arve Misund is quoted above saying that all major powers are positioning themselves for this development. But one of the powers, the present US Administration may be deeply distressed by this major source of fossil fuels and who knows what game they will play to prevent exploitation of these resources.