Friday, April 21, 2006

Petrocan's Arctic Sovereignty

The real reason for the Conservatives insistence on expanding Canadian Forces in the north is for military enforcement of our Northern Arctic sovereignty..... for Big Oil. In this case Petrocan.

Oh and here is the irony, it is global warming that is opening up these vast reserves to potential exploitaion, thus increasing global warming in the Arctic.

Catch 22.

FEATURE-Canada scrambles to assert sovereignty in Arctic

CORNWALLIS ISLAND, Nunavut, April 21 (Reuters) - After decades of virtually ignoring its remote, frozen Arctic lands, Canada is belatedly trying to assert its sovereignty over a gigantic region rich in mineral resources. Ottawa's problem is that it has little idea of what is going on in the North and far too few resources to patrol the area properly. And that could be bad news when climate change and the appetite for energy and commodities mean the world is suddenly paying more attention to an incredibly inhospitable place.

Scramble is on for Arctic oil

British and US scientists are at loggerheads over a plan to work with oil companies in hunting for the Arctic's fossil fuel reserves.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) 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.

Tackling climate change and working out how it will affect the Arctic and Antarctica is a central theme of International Polar Year (IPY) - a high-profile project to start early next year that involves thousands of scientists from 60 countries.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet and last September saw the lowest extent of sea ice cover for more than a century. Scientists say the temperature there could rise by a further 4C-7C by 2100, and the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer by 2060.

Documents on the IPY website show that BP and Statoil, a Norwegian company, are "significant consortium members" on a USGS proposal to assess "energy resources in the circumarctic area including oil, gas, coalbed methane and methane hydrates". Geologists estimate that a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves lie under the Arctic, and analysts have predicted a 21st-century goldrush to tap them as the Arctic Ocean's ice cover retreats.

Suzanne Weedman of the USGS said: "This is very much a part of what we do. Our responsibility is to assess the undiscovered oil and gas using geological information." She said the plan built on a project called the Arctic Energy Assessment, which is part of its World Energy Project - a global attempt to map untapped hydrocarbon fuel reserves. ExxonMobil, Amoco, Conoco, Texaco and PetroCanada are listed as members.

Global warming project criticized for affiliation with U.S. oil mapping

The polar year project, scheduled for 2007-2008, is aimed at increasing scientists' understanding of the environment at the North and South Poles. Rising temperatures are having a big impact on both regions, so climate change is an important aspect of the research.

The project, which includes more than 200 studies, last year conditionally accepted the U.S. Geological Survey's mapping effort as part of its research program, said Chris Rapley, head of the British Antarctic Survey and a board member of the committee running the polar year. The committee is likely to give final approval for the U.S. survey's involvement soon, he said.

Rapley said the U.S. Arctic survey program - part of a long-term American effort to map untapped oil reserves around the world - would provide valuable scientific information that could help those trying to understand climate change and figure out how to combat and anticipate it.

Norway sets Arctic oil plan - boom or gloom?
Norway set rules for oil and gas exploration in the Barents Sea on Friday amid major uncertainty about whether the pristine Norwegian Arctic will mean boom or gloom for oil firms.

The U.S. Geological Survey has suggested that 25 percent of the world's undiscovered petroleum resources could be in the Arctic. But some experts say oil may have leaked from the Barents, off the northern tip of Europe, millions of years ago.

Russia's Gazprom Enters Booming LNG Markets with Giant Arctic Gas Field

With gas reservoirs equivalent to Exxon's oil reserves, Shtokman poses an alluring but technically daunting challenge for the five firms shortlisted as possible partners: U.S. majors Chevron and ConocoPhillips, FranceƂ's Total and Norway's Statoil and Norsk Hydro. Gazprom wants help producing gas in the iceberg-strewn seas around Shtokman, pumping it 550 km to shore, liquefying it and shipping it to the United States for re-gasification and sale.

And it's not like this is NEWS either, as this article from 1999 shows, we have known about global warming in the Arctic for years it just that over the past two years we have seen an acceleration in that process. Arctic Meltdown

Alaska natives speak out against Arctic oil exploration

The $500-million Northstar project has been more than four years in development. It is the first offshore development in the Arctic Ocean

April 16, 1999
Web posted at: 2:30 PM EDT

Alaska natives spoke out Thursday against BP Amoco's Northstar project to explore for oil reserves in the Arctic Ocean. The natives say the oil exploration threatens their culture and livelihood in the region.

Three Alaska natives of the Yup'ik and Gwich'in people attended BP's annual general meeting to make their concerns known directly to company directors and shareholders. The three are campaigning with Greenpeace to end the project.

According to opponents of the project, climate change, caused by burning oil, coal and gas, is causing the western Arctic to warm three times faster than any other part of the globe. The survival of many species, such as polar bears, walrus and reindeer, is currently threatened by retreating ice and unseasonally warm weather.

Arctic scientists have found that the Arctic ice pack has been declining at a rate of 4.5 percent in the past decade.

"For countless generations the Gwich'in people, my people, have relied on the land to provide for our survival," said Allan Hayton, a Gwich'in Athabascan from Arctic Village, Alaska. "Already we are witnessing dramatic changes in our Alaskan climate from the burning of fossil fuels, and an oil spill on the North Slope would effectively destroy our abundant wildlife and our native cultures in the process. Sir John Browne, respectfully I ask you, will you cancel Northstar, and commit your company to not drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?"

The $500-million Northstar project has been more than four years in development. It is the first offshore development in the Arctic Ocean. BP became sole operator of the Northstar Unit in December 1995. The company projects its 'first oil' to come between 2000-2001.

The survival of many species, such as polar bears, walrus and reindeer, is currently threatened by retreating ice and unseasonally warm weather

Proponents of the project say Alaskans and the federal treasury would both benefit economically from increased oil production and the environmental impact would be negligible. They argue that expanded oil production is badly needed in the area.

Opponents say the oil industry is only looking at the short-term benefits and not seeing the long-term threats.

"BP is undermining climate protection and threatening subsistence ways of life by pushing ahead with oil exploration," said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Matthew Spencer.

Also at the meeting were 60 members of the BP shareholder splinter group, SANE BP, who encouraged shareholders to advocate a different direction for the company than that being pursued by current BP directors.

Copyright 1999, Environmental News Network, All Rights Reserved

Also See:

Capitalism's Denial of Climate Catastrophe

Water in your Scotch

Melt Down

Da' Bears Have It

2005 Record Heat Wave

More Thaw

Hot Air Over Climate Change--Business as Usual

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