Norwegian oil threat to Arctic environment

This video is called Polar bear during scientific cruise in Barents Sea.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Norway opens up Arctic to oil drilling

Thursday 20 June 2013

Norway’s parliament has opened up a new area on the edge of the Arctic Ocean to offshore oil drilling despite protests from opponents who fear catastrophic oil spills.

Most of the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea, which it shares with Russia, is already open to oil firms.

But environmentalists and some opposition MPs warn that the risk to Arctic sea ice is higher in the Switzerland-sized area straddling the Russian maritime border and want to make parts of it off-limits to oil and gas drilling.

But MPs backed the government in a vote late on Wednesday and opened the entire area to drilling so long as it is 31 miles from the ice’s edge.

“This is a clear break in Norwegian policy,” warned World Wildlife Fund spokesman Nils Harley Boisen.

“It is moving completely against all expert advice on what are safe operations.”

Christian Democrat MP Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, who opposed the measure, warned that operations in icy waters are complicated, risky and potentially hazardous to sensitive Arctic ecosystems.

The government claims that the environmental risks will be managed carefully, noting that Norway doesn’t allow drilling in areas covered by sea ice.

Norway’s oil and gas exports have made it one of the world’s richest countries per capita.

It hopes that Arctic drilling will make up for declining production in the North Sea.

The slice of the Barents Sea that was opened by parliament is in an area that was disputed with Russia before a maritime border deal in 2010.

Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe said the decision highlights the oil industry’s creep toward the North Pole as climate change thaws the frozen region – estimated to hold up to 13 per cent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 per cent of its untapped natural gas.

But he added that the Arctic oil rush had slowed a little, with Shell and Conoco-Phillips cancelling drilling plans this year and in 2014.

12 thoughts on “Norwegian oil threat to Arctic environment

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