Thursday, 8 April 2010
One would assume that a freezing cold, deserted and desolate Arctic attracts little political attention, is of no economic interest to competing business tycoons. But once you read into the issue, you realise that published studies estimate that areas north of the Arctic Circle have some 90 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil amounting to 13% of the undiscovered oil in the world, along with 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.
Today, climate change and global warming are causing the Arctic icecap to melt which - along with high oil prices and improved oil recovery technologies - are making exploration of unexplored Arctic reserves worthwhile.
Territorial claims and counter-claims have risen between the countries littoral to the Arctic Ocean - namely the USA, Russia, Norway, Denmark (via Greenland), Canada and Iceland.
According to Jody Ray of ISN Security Watch, "new developments in the north reveal that Arctic states are training for a future arctic resource race."
"While each country has been mandated by the UN to register their claims in the Arctic region before various deadlines - Russia’s claim is due this year and Canada’s in 2013 - the Arctic states have already begun to deploy state forces and research teams to uncharted arctic territory" writes Ray.
More from "Climate of Conflict in Arctic" on ISN Security Watch.