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> The race for the Arctic resources


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Posted: Jun 21 2006, 10:59 AM
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1755765,00.html?gusrc=rss
Unlike the Antarctic continent spread around the south pole, the Arctic has no formal international treaty to regulate activities. And while howling winds, drifting icebergs and months of freezing darkness kept prospecters at bay, there was little activity to regulate.

But as global warming thaws the ocean's icy layer, oil giants, shipping companies and even the odd enterprising tourist operator are casting their eyes towards the high north.

Last August a Russian vessel, the Akademik Fyodorov, became the first to reach the north pole without an icebreaker - one of seven ships to make it to the top of the world last year. This summer, Russian icebreakers aim to go one better and take paying guests, for £17,000 each. If the ice continues to thin and shrink as expected, then within a few decades cruise liners, container ships and tankers could all head over the pole, shaving thousands of miles off their voyages across the globe.

The biggest boom could be oil and gas. The US Geological Survey surprised some experts when it declared that a quarter of the world's undiscovered reserves lay under the Arctic Ocean. As the ice retreats, oil companies are scrambling to open a new frontier.

Bruce Evers, an analyst with the London firm Investec, says the big companies have no choice but to investigate the Arctic. "If they think there is oil and gas there then they absolutely can't ignore it," he says. "If there is going to be an Arctic Klondike rush then they will want to be there along with every other Tom, Dick and Harry. They can't afford to sit and watch the others explore and come up with some huge discoveries."

Attempts to open up the Arctic national wildlife refuge in Alaska to drilling remain deadlocked in the US Congress, but several companies have dipped more than a toe in the chilly Arctic Ocean further north. BP Amoco is developing an Alaskan offshore oil deposit called Northstar and the Norwegian company Statoil is working on a gasfield some 90 miles across the frozen Barents Sea from its most northerly outpost, Hammerfest. Called Snow White, the project is expected to start pumping liquefied natural gas to the US and Europe next year.

The jewel in the Arctic energy crown is the Shtokman field, also in the Barents Sea. Some 300 miles off the Russian Arctic coast and 10 times the size of Snow White, it is the largest offshore gas reservoir in the world. The Russian energy giant Gazprom is poised to announce partnerships with other companies to drill up to 120 wells.

"It's an unfortunate fact of life that the climactically benign and politically stable areas are running out of oil and gas," Mr Evers said. "So in politically stable areas like the Arctic there's going to be a substantial amount of interest."

That interest is already turning up the diplomatic heat, and there are a growing number of territorial disputes between the eight countries with a claim to the Arctic: Russia, the US, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

A dispute between the US and Canada over rights to shipping lanes through the North-West Passage flared up again this year, with Canada promising to step up its military presence to protect what it regards as its territory and the US sees as international waters. Norway and Russia are squabbling over the Barents Sea, while Denmark is eyeing the north pole itself.

International law allows a country to claim the seabed up to 350 miles off its coast, which is judged from the edge of its continental shelf. Existing surveys show that no country's shelf extends far enough to give it a claim on the pole, so a neutral area around it is administered by the International Seabed Authority. To get round this, Denmark is trying to prove that Greenland - a Danish territory - is connected to a 1,100-mile underwater ridge that stretches towards the pole. Launching the effort in 2004, the Danish science minister, Helge Sander, said it was to give Denmark access to "new resources such as oil and natural gas". Canada and Russia are trying to make similar claims and it could take years to sort out.

Environmental campaigners are viewing the creeping development of the Arctic with mounting concern. Norway announced last month that it will limit drilling in some areas to protect fragile ecosystems. The 31-mile exclusion zone in the Barents Sea has large supplies of fish. But the embargo expires in 2010 and drilling elsewhere is being stepped up, with the granting of 13 oil and gas licences to 17 companies.

Stephanie Tumore, a climate campaigner with Greenpeace, said: "Haven't we learnt anything? Why are we going looking for more fossil fuels when what's happening in polar regions just proves that it is devastating and we cannot continue to do that?"


The consequences: Precarious region

Wildlife
The Arctic is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and fish found in few, if any, other places on Earth. Polar bears, musk oxen and caribou are joined each summer by snowy owls, ducks and swans that migrate there to nest. Some of the hardiest organisms discovered live within the ice, helping to make the region a unique ecosystem. Now, 1,000sq miles of Arctic tundra on Alaska's North Slope is home to one of the world's largest industrial complexes, with 28 oil production plants, 4,800 exploration and production wells, 1,800 miles of pipes and 500 miles of roads.

Sea ice
Global warming has lead to an increase in melting of Arctic sea ice and in one study last year, scientists predicted that 4m sq miles of permafrost could shrink to 400,000 sq miles by 2100, disrupting ocean currents, releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and causing havoc to roads and buildings across Canada, Alaska and Russia.

Mineral exploration
The melting of Arctic sea ice has made the region more accessible to shipping, and oil and gas companies keen to prospect for natural resources. Some estimates suggest that one quarter of the planet's untapped fossil fuels, including 375bn barrels of oil, lie beneath the Arctic, and industry experts talk of a "black gold rush" as companies clamour to exploit the reserves. Off Norway's north coast, the state oil company, Statoil, is engaged in project Snow White, which workers believe will generate £34bn in liquefied natural gas over the next 30 years.

Pollution
Spillages and leaks add to the environmental damage caused by oil extraction and, according to the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), between 1996 and 2004, there were 4,530 spills of more than 1.9m gallons of diesel, oil, acid and other chemicals along the Alaskan border alone. Last month, hundreds of thousands of litres of crude oil gushed into the Arctic Ocean from a corroded 30-year old BP pipeline. The NRDC says there is at least one leak from an oilfield or pipeline every day.

Tourism
Global warming is also opening up the Arctic to tourism, with shipping companies offering voyages to the north pole. Previously, only well-equipped icebreakers would have been able to attempt the trip.


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Posted: Jun 21 2006, 11:09 AM
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UK scientists attack oil firms' role in huge Arctic project:


British scientists are at loggerheads with US colleagues over a controversial plan to work alongside oil companies to hunt for fossil fuel reserves in the Arctic.

The US Geological Survey is lining up a project with BP and Statoil to find oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean, under the auspices of a flagship scientific initiative intended to tackle global warming.


But the head of the British Antarctic Survey, which coordinates UK activity at the poles, has said he is "very uncomfortable" with the idea and has questioned its ethical and scientific justification.

More here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1755823,00.html


This post has been edited by Blue Eyed on Jun 21 2006, 11:09 AM


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Posted: Jun 21 2006, 01:58 PM
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Of course! How blind of me not to see the reason behind the lack of action over global warming. Both poles need to be exposed to get at the minerals.

Antarctica is bigger than Australia. Think of the mineral wealth it would have. We know that it has thick coal seams - what else?

If anyone thinks that the current treaty will continue to protect Antarctica, think again. While it is virtually impossible to exploit, everyone is happy to make it a park but, when the ice retreats, watch the scramble. We already have Japan refusing to recognise land claims in Antarctica. Japan is illegally fishing and whaling in claimed territorial waters and defying all complaints by the claiming nations. Force is the only thing which will keep the ugly monkeys out of other people's areas.
When Antarctica becomes exploitable, Japan (and other resource poor countries) will try to overturn existing claims or even make usurping claims of their own.

And when capitalism decides that it is time to destroy Antactica for profit, nothing will stop the destruction.




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Posted: Jun 21 2006, 02:42 PM
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uggliozzi, I believe the report posted by Blue Eyed is about the Arctic - not Antarctica.

Antarctica is already occupied by the ruling nations of the world.

I use to have a map which showed the locations of the various nations bases stationed down there.

But you do have a point... warm up the planet, expose the poles and their rich resources and then continue burning more fossil fuels and thus change the air and atmosphere of Earth to better suit the new arrivals.
QUOTE
Stephanie Tumore, a climate campaigner with Greenpeace, said: "Haven't we learnt anything? Why are we going looking for more fossil fuels when what's happening in polar regions just proves that it is devastating and we cannot continue to do that?"


Most don't realize it, but there IS an agenda to alter the air and atmosphere of Earth and we will not see widespread use of clean energy until the desired air type (Co2???) is achieved.

http://www.puppstheories.com/warning.htm




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Posted: Jun 21 2006, 05:58 PM
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PuPP,

Nobody contributing to this forum today will ever see the widespread use of clean energy. The world has decades of oil and centuries of coal and while the capitalist scum can continue to make obscene amounts of money from ripping off the people of the world, dirty energy will remain the order of the day. If they can get at the energy and transport benefits from ice-free north and souith poles, they will extend their atmospheric destruction even longer.

Take a look at Germany. For years the Green party in Germany held the balance of power and therefore had a large say in what happened in Germany. Many "green" measures were put into place including the removal of all German nuclear power plants. However, at the last election the ruling party gained enough votes to do without the Greens in coalition. Now there is a strong push from "business" (capitalist scum) to do away with green regulations. They WILL get their own way and Germany will degenerate into another filth-producing nation.

The capitalist filth never give up.
If anything adverse to them happens they just pull their heads in for a while and manipulate (lie, bribe, coerce, threaten and murder) until the situation swings their way again. They are steadily crushing the unions in one country after the other to take away worker's rights and safety and one day will eliminate what they see as a temporary set-back in their God-given right of life and death over worker inferiors. "Yes Boss - you won't maim me today. Can I lick your boots Sir?"

The Oz government recently introduced anti-worker legislation with "safety clauses" to prevent fraudulent use of the legislation. These clauses had provision for government financing of court cases. Right from day one we had bosses throwing workers out of jobs like so many discarded tissues. How many government-financed cases do you think are in the system now? Yep, you're right!

The only hope for the planet is a simultaneous world-wide peoples' revolution. BUT while the people with the power to successfully prosecute such a revolution stick glued to their idiot-boxes and seek fulfillment in propaganda-induced materialism, there will be no liberation.




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Posted: Oct 25 2006, 05:18 AM
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QUOTE
Of course! How blind of me not to see the reason behind the lack of action over global warming. Both poles need to be exposed to get at the minerals.



An interesting thought Uggliozzi!


This article speculates in the same:

QUOTE
Is Global Warming Being Used to Open the Arctic to Exploitation?
http://cherylsealreports.com/rapeofthearctic.html

Everyone knows that the fossil fuel barons - i.e., the purveyors of oil, natural gas, and coal - have vehemently fought against the Kyoto Protocol and any other significant measures that might slow global warming.
ExxonMobil and Western Fuel Association have funneled millions of dollars into phony "science" material and "expert testimony" to debunk global warming, often using reprehensibly stealthy methods.
Bush's "secret energy task force" was stacked with oil and coal barons - but no representatives from the alternative fuel community. Since taking office, Bush has granted nearly every global-warming-fueling wish the fossil fuel barons could ever have desired: lavishing billions in tax breaks, proposing the construction of hundreds of new coal-burning power plants, handing out drilling leases like a drunken sailor, selling off or leasing for next to nothing hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands for "exploration" (Wyoming alone now has over 30,000 new oil and natural gas wells); loosening clean air standards, revising EPA standards for monitoring pollution to let more emissions slip "under the radar," stinting on any serious funding for alternative fuel development, blocking or delaying any energy conservation regulations, etc. ad nauseum.

But, one might well wonder:

Why would anyone want to do anything to risk the health of the planet upon which we all must live? Easy. The same reason that all such outrages have ever been committed throughout time: Greed. By fueling global warming, the fossil fuel barons stand to actually gain - and gain a great deal. It has been revealed that as the arctic ice melts, huge reserves of oil, natural gas and coal are becoming more readily accessible.
Last November, Alex Duval-Smith wrote in the "Guardian, " "The 14 million sq km Arctic Ocean is home to 25 per cent of the planet's unextracted oil and natural gas. With a population of four million, the region is much more stable than the Middle East.

Global warming, in combination with the current high oil price, makes it ever more accessible." The artificially high oil prices, in fact, may have been engineered as funding for the polar "black gold rush."

And with no pesky polar ice, there will be a whole new streamlined shipping lane between Atlantic and Pacific - saving the fossil fuel barons billions - savings that, as their track record shows, will never be passed on to consumers. And as to being "stabler than the Middle East," that may not last for long as the "gold rush" heats up.

Territorial disputes are already erupting. Duval-Smith writes: "Norway and Russia are soon to resume talks - stalled for two years - over a disputed area of the Barents Sea. While an agreement exists between them allowing fishing in part of the area, known as the Grey Zone, both countries want access to the larger disputed area for oil and gas exploration. Immediately to the east of the area, the Russians have discovered the 1,400sq km Shtokman field, the largest offshore gas deposit in the world. Resolution of the dispute could have an impact on the entire Arctic area…..A dispute between Denmark and Canada this year over Hans Island - an uninhabited rock off Greenland - centres on the potential for oil in the Nares Strait. There are outstanding disputes between the US and Canada over the North West Passage and the Beaufort Sea. The Russian parliament has yet to ratify a 1990 agreement with the US dividing the Bering Sea. Only a small international body, the Arctic Council, exists to mediate."

Does this sound like a scenario in which the fossil fuel barons are likely to WANT global warming mitigated? I think not.
And if you think that my accusation is somehow an over-the-top assessment of corporate behavior, consider the behavior of the coal barons in recent years. Once the equipment was developed that was capable of ripping the tops off mountains to get at coal cheaply, quickly, and by paying fewer workers, did the coal industry balk, concerned by the environmental devastation and human misery the process would cause - or the loss of property and life that would be caused by erosion-driven floods? Hardly. (for more about the tragedy of mountain top removal, read “Tragic Mountains” by Brett McCabe).

So just what makes anyone think such parasites would be above promoting global warming as their ticket to a new "frontier" of easy exploitation? No one who has even a limited grasp of history. Once again, the stampede to the Arctic, like most major corporate outrages, has managed to elude public scrutiny because the US media is, as always NOT doing its job and informing the public. As a result, the Arctic Onslaught is already in full swing. As may be the decline of Planet Earth.




Global warming and global cooling are periodical natural cycles. Coming and going.

Fuelling global warming to get better access to these natural resources? Yes maybe that's what they're doing.


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Posted: Oct 25 2006, 05:25 AM
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A possible exploration of Antarctica?

QUOTE
Antarctic under threat as oil-hunger grows:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060713/sc_af...nt_060713060628

Declining oil reserves and soaring prices could see desperate nations overturning a ban on exploration in the last untouched frontier – Antarctica, an oil expert told a scientific conference.
Pressure to drill in the pristine, icy continent could become irresistible, Ali Bakhtiari, a former senior adviser for the National Iranian Oil Company, said at a meeting of international Antarctic specialists in Hobart, Tansmania.“I hope it will not happen because that would create enormous difficulties, but when you have the enormous price increase that I can foresee governments and companies will want to find oil anywhere,” he said.“There is now only one frontier province left and that is Antarctica,” he was quoted as saying by Australia’s national news agency AAP.

More than 850 delegates are in Hobart this week for the combined meetings of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP). Bakhtiari predicted the world’s oil production rate would peak this year at 81 billion barrels per day and decline to roughly 55 million barrels per day by 2020, pitching oil prices to “stratospheric levels”.“ In the next 14 years, if my predictions are correct, one third of today’s oil supply will be gone,” Bakhtiari said. “Wait until you see these pressures that are coming up. They will come up one day.”Seven countries have made territorial claims in Antarctica, but not all countries recognize these claims.

The 1961 Antarctic Treaty establishes the legal framework for the management of Antarctica and has 28 decision-making members, including the seven that claim portions of the continent.These are Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and Britain. The United States and Russia have reserved the right to make claims, and the US does not recognize the claims of others. Antarctica is protected from mineral exploration under the Madrid Protocol, which bans mining, but the prohibition can be changed at any time if all 28 signatory countries agree.


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Posted: Oct 25 2006, 06:01 AM
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Blue Eyed
QUOTE
Fueling global warming to get better access to these natural resources? Yes maybe that's what they're doing.

That is a definite possibility.

I believe it to be a fact that mankind's burning of coal, oil and gas for over 150 years has contributed to the increase in CO2, the hole in the ozone layer and global warming.

But I agree that warming and cooling cycles seem to be a natural occurance on Earth with ice ages coming and going. I believe it to be related to sun activity and solar cycles as well as solar flares.

Clean energy will be seen and used by my generation... it shall be so.




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~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Jan 8 2007, 11:39 AM
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From august 2006
QUOTE
US to Lease 8 Million Acres in Alaska for Drilling
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cf...37805/story.htm

Despite strong opposition from environmental groups, the Bush administration Wednesday said it would offer energy companies next month the opportunity to search for crude oil and natural gas on 8 million acres in Alaska's western Arctic region.

The acres to be leased will be on 696 tracts in the northeast and northwest areas of the National Petroleum Reserve. Environmentalists are especially concerned because 373,000 acres north of the reserve's wetland-rich Teshekpuk Lake will also be offered for lease for the first time.

About 183,200 acres relinquished since a 2002 lease sale will also be reoffered to energy companies.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, which will conduct the lease sale Sept. 27, said the reserve's energy supplies are needed and steps will be taken to limit the impact of drilling at biologically sensitive areas near Teshekpuk Lake.

The reserve is estimated to hold between 5.9 billion and 13.2 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 39 trillion to 83 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Two billion barrels of oil may be around Teshekpuk Lake alone.

"This is a significant amount of oil that will help decrease our dependence on imported oil," said BLM Acting Alaska Director Julia Dougan.



From december 2006
QUOTE
Global energy hunger brings oil and gas boom to Arctic Barents Sea
http://www.canadaeast.com/ce2/docroot/arti...articleID=83761

The Polar night cloaking wind-swept Hammerfest in northernmost Norway is pierced by glaring floodlights from a nearby island.

Construction machines roar and hum as workers bundled against whipping winds scurry among enormous storage tanks, gleaming towers and rows of red housing barracks.

The massive gas plant outside Hammerfest, once a lonely Arctic outpost known for fish, reindeer traffic jams and a dubious claim of being "The World's Northernmost Town," is now the base of oil-rich Norway's latest energy drive.

It's a pioneering venture to extract natural gas in the fragile Arctic waters of the Barents Sea, which the Nordic country uneasily shares with its powerful neighbour Russia - and may contain billions of barrels more of yet-to-be discovered oil and gas.


"We are opening a new oil province," said Sverre Kojedal of the state-controlled oil company Statoil ASA that is developing Norway's first Barents natural gas field, Snoehvit, which lies about 145 kiometres off the coast and is expected to come online a year from now.


With the world's known petroleum resources drying up, the inhospitable waters of the Barents Sea are a new frontier in the search for oil and gas. But exploration is controversial, as Norway and Russia weigh the odds of hitting paydirt against the potential damage to fragile Arctic ecosystems already under assault by global warming.

The area, named after 16th century Dutch explorer William Barents, is one of the world's cleanest and richest fishing grounds, and has fragile cold weather ecology - both of which environmentalists fear the hunger for oil could put at risk.

The World Wildlife Fund calls the Barents "Europe's last wild sea" and has warned that increasing oil activity, fishing, shipping, climate change and toxins "pose serious threats to the marine ecosystem and biodiversity."

The Norwegian government has slowly and cautiously opened up the remote Barents Sea to oil companies since the first exploration licence was issued in 1984. Now, with oil prices at near record levels, the option of drilling in the Arctic waters has become an almost irresistible lure for developers in an energy-hungry world.

-snip-
There is more to come.
The Italian oil company Eni SpA discovered oil and natural gas at another field, called Goliat, off the Arctic coast. Russia is developing the world's largest offshore natural gas field, Shtokman, off its own Arctic coast.

Norway is the world's third largest oil exporter, but with North Sea resources dwindling, Norway hopes the US$9.25 billion Snoehvit project heralds a new era of energy wealth.

Even though ice is not a factor near Hammerfest, it is farther north. With the polar ice cap melting faster than scientists previously believed, the once ice-covered regions could also open up for the oil industry.

But the optimism that such prospects has created in places like Hammerfest also brings new worries of oil blowouts - the uncontrolled eruption of wells - or pollution to a region already under pressure from global warming and man-made toxins. PCBs, carried on winds and currents from distant factories to the Arctic, have been shown to have caused birth defects in polar bears.

Unni Berge, of the Norwegian environmental group Bellona, said the most ecologically important areas should be closed for good, and that there is no need to rush into the north because "there is more than enough to do in the North Sea, which will remain Norway's main oil province for a long time."

The regional Fishermen's Union has accepted natural gas fields, but is more skeptical regarding oil, fearing a spill could foul fish breeding grounds and spoil catches.

"The risk of a blowout is small," said Dag Vongraven, an environmental expert at the Norwegian Polar Institute. However, he said there is a risk of spills during transport, such as on oil tankers.

Kojedal, of Statoil, said the company expects to sell gas worth about $63.5 billion during the Snoehvit project's 25-30 year life span.



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Posted: Jan 15 2007, 12:59 AM
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Thanks for the important posts Blue Eyed.

The Bush admin has basically given up the Alaskan wilderness to oil and gas corporations.

But it should be no surprise since we all know that the Bush crime family is heavily vested in oil as well as weapons such as the Carlyle Group.

War means great profits for these scum of the Earth beings.




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QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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