After two years without drillings, Norway’s oil major again looks north.
Thomas Nilsen, Independent Barents Observer, 30 August 2016
“Exploration on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, needed and necessary – a Barents Sea deep dive,” was the title when Statoil on Tuesday announced its active drilling program at ONS, Norway’s largest oil conference- and exhibition taking place in Stavanger.
The Barents Sea campaign next year will include five to seven drillings.
Over the last few months, Statoil has increased its share in five licenses in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea. Agreements are signed with companies like ConocoPhillips, OMW, DEA and Point Resources.
Drillings will take place at different locations, including a new test-well at Goliat, where Statoil partners with ENI Norge at the only oil-field in production in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea. Another drilling for 2017 will take place at the Korpfjell formation near Norway’s maritime border to Russia.
The Korpfjell formation will be one of the northernmost drillings ever made in Norwegian Arctic waters.
Statoil writes in a press-note that new and significant discoveries are crucial in order to maintain production on the Norwegian continental shelf at the current level until 2030 and after that. Areas off the coast of northern Norway will play a pivotal role in achieving this objective.
Statoil underlines that all planned drillings depend on permissions from the authorities.
Tucked a mountain on a remote Arctic island, beneath several hundred feet of rock and a near-constant blanket of snow, two imposing steel doors lock out the wind and bitter cold. Behind them, a long tunnel leads to a series of quiet, concrete rooms. Austere fluorescent bulbs illuminate thousands of black boxes crowded upon row after row of shelves, each box packed to the brim with dozens of heat-sealed silver packets.
In each packet is a handful of sleeping seeds — the last-resort guarantors of the future of our food.
Steven Lee Myers & Clifford Krauss, New York Times, 7 September 2015
TERIBERKA, Russia — The warming Arctic should already have transformed this impoverished fishing village on the coast of the Barents Sea.
The Kremlin spent billions in the last decade in hopes of turning it into a northern hub of its energy powerhouse, Gazprom. It was once the most ambitious project planned in the Arctic Ocean, but now there is little to show for it aside from a shuttered headquarters and an enormous gravel road carved out of the windblown coastline like a scar.
“There are plans,” said Viktor A. Turchaninov, the village’s mayor, “but the facts — the realities of life — suggest the opposite.”
When Statoil acquired the last of three licenses off Greenland’s west coast in January 2012, oil at more than $110 a barrel made exploring the iceberg-ridden waters an attractive proposition.
Less than two years later, the price of oil had been cut by almost half and Norway’s Statoil, the world’s most active offshore Arctic explorer in 2014, relinquished its interest in all three licenses in December without drilling a single well, Knut Rostad, a spokesman for the state-controlled company, said by e-mail.
Statoil’s decision shows how the plunge in oil, with Brent crude trading at about $45 a barrel, has dealt another blow to companies and governments hoping to tap the largely unexplored Arctic. That threatens to demote the importance of a region already challenged by high costs, environmental concerns, technological obstacles and, in the case of Russia, international sanctions.
Cooperation between countries is helping to develop an Arctic rulebook
Michael Byers, The World Today, August-September 2013, Vol 69, No 7
In Moscow, a map produced by the Canadian Department of Natural Resources has pride of place in Arctic Ambassador Anton Vasiliev’s office in the Stalinist-era skyscraper that houses the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The choice of wall décor reflects the fact that Russia and Canada are predominately influential in the Arctic, together with the United States. It also indicates how climate change and rising demand for natural resources has propelled the Arctic into the mainstream of international diplomacy.
Sergei Lavrov and Jonas Gahr Støre, Globe and Mail, September 21, 2010
It is often said there are few truly untamed places left on Earth, but the windswept horizons of the Arctic surely qualify. Some political analysts maintain that the geopolitical landscape is equally harsh – a lawless region poised for conflict due to an accelerating “race for the North Pole.”
We disagree. Instead, we firmly believe that the Arctic can be used to demonstrate just how much peace and collective interests can be served through the implementation of the international rule of law. Moreover, we believe that the challenges in the Arctic should inspire momentum in international relations, based on co-operation rather than rivalry and confrontation, and we believe that important steps have already been taken toward this goal.
Frosty diplomatic relations were thawing like Arctic ice as Norway reached a landmark deal with Russia this week over a 40-year-old Barents Sea boundary dispute, and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon held cordial meetings Thursday with Russian officials in Moscow.
As other countries sew up deals, Canada is seen as a laggard in jockeying for northern riches
Paul Koring, Globe and Mail, September 16, 2010
The race to carve up the Arctic’s increasingly exposed riches got hotter as Norway and Russia divvied up an oil-rich zone off their northern coasts, leaving Canada as the only country with a share of both the remaining unresolved boundary disputes.
The newly discovered Arctic exploration vessel is an important part of this nation's history -- it should be displayed in the capital
Michael Byers, Ottawa Citizen, July 30,2010
Museums in Oslo and Vancouver house two of the three ships that were central to the history of Canada's Northwest Passage. With this week's discovery of the HMS Investigator, almost perfectly preserved in the cold waters of Mercy Bay, Northwest Territories, Ottawa should soon become the home of the third.